When Paul Pogba returned to Manchester United for a world-record £89m, many thought he would be the man to bring consistent success back to Old Trafford, but it just hasn’t worked out that way so far.
Releasing the young Frenchman appeared to be a huge mistake By Sir Alex Ferguson’s as he teared up Serie A and guided Juventus to the Champions League final in 2015. His dominating displays reminded many of Yaya Toure in his prime, and at age 23 there was a feeling he could control United’s midfield for the next decade.
The money was astronomical, but the value of his signature seemed priceless, even if Pogba had been part of the youth system just four years earlier. Jose Mourinho’s reputation of bringing success and Pogba’s love for United pulled the Frenchman back to England for the 2016-2017 season.
His positional discipline was questioned during his first campaign, and going forward he only tallied five Premier League goals and four assists. A goal to seal the Europa League against Ajax and a crucial finish in the League Cup semi-final against Hull City provided promise going into his second campaign back in a Manchester United shirt.
The 2017/18 season was one of two halves for Pogba, with a strong start ending with a hamstring tear during the Champions League group stage. From then on, United’s form dipped and frustration focused on the club’s most expensive player.
Mourinho shackled Pogba with too many defensive responsibilities and so his impact on the game was limited. Then in the summer, the opposite was seen during his illustrious World Cup-winning performances because he had N’Golo Kante to take that weight off his shoulders.
Pogba has hinted at his unhappiness at United going into the new season, and it’s no surprise. His manager’s style of play appears to be stunting his development and will be frustrating considering the style of football played by Guardiola’s men just across the City.
The £52m purchase of Fred could help Pogba in his search for a more impactful role in Mourinho’s set-up. However, if the style doesn’t improve soon, the effect of playing a deeper role during an important period of his development, could spell trouble for the rest of his career.
Ruined rating: 6/10