Despite the Premier League season being in full swing, one man continues to dominate the headlines in United red- Paul Pogba.
It is no secret that the French World Cup winner’s contract at Old Trafford comes to an end in the summer, and the midfielder is reportedly assessing his options before making a final decision at the end of the current campaign.
United allowed Pogba to leave on a free in 2012, and the hierarchy will be keen to avoid making the same mistake again. Still, is it best for everyone involved to allow the 28-year-old to leave the club for a second time this summer?
Pogba’s Time At Old Trafford
It would be fair to suggest that Pogba’s second stint at United hasn’t been the most successful. The Frenchman quickly fell out with Jose Mourinho, before injuries meant playing time was restricted throughout the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer-era. However, there was a sense that this season was set to be his time to finally show that he could cut it in the Premier League. He started the campaign with seven assists in the opening weeks, but injuries once again meant that he was missing for important fixtures.
While the majority of United fans still understand the ability is there, there is a growing frustration that we aren’t seeing it on a regular basis. Pogba was meant to be the signing that took United back to the Premier League title, but his inconsistency has meant that hasn’t been possible. His clear ability has been a problem for every United manager, as they have looked to get him into the team while also ensuring that the Red Devils are still solid enough at the back.
Mourinho attempted to put Pogba alongside Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera, but neither allowed the Frenchman to play in a free role. Solskjaer instead allowed Pogba to express himself, but was forced out wide in the big games, as the Norwegian opted for a more hard-working duo in the middle of the park with Scott McTominay and Fred anchoring the midfield.
He Makes United Vulnerable
Pogba’s inclusion often makes United more vulnerable. Even when he was playing in a wide position under Solskjaer, the Frenchman wouldn’t work back, which often left the full-backs exposed. The World Cup winner has been back playing in the middle of the park this season, with Bruno Fernandes ahead of him in the number ten position. His performances since returning from injury have been better, but United have conceded three goals in three games.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Pogba is the only one to blame, as McTominay and Fred’s ability to play in the middle of the park is also in question.
However, many fans wouldn’t be too disappointed to see the Frenchman leave if it means bringing in a player that could make the side more solid in the middle of the field.
Who Could Replace Pogba?
Should Pogba be allowed to leave United in the summer, then it would free up wages to spend on a new signing.
A number of midfielders have already been linked with a move to Old Trafford, including Ruben Neves, Amadou Haidara and Youri Tielemans.
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However, the one player that all United fans believe will solve midfield issues is West Ham United’s Declan Rice.
The England international isn’t likely to be the cheapest option, as the club will likely have to part with around £100 million.
However, Rice solves almost every issue that United has in the midfield area. His ball-winning ability is among the best in the division, while he makes driving runs, which has enabled him to enjoy his best goalscoring season to date.
As well as a ready-made replacement, signing the 23-year-old will also ensure United has an eye to the future, as the midfielder is certain to improve as he approaches his prime.