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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Should Pogba have stayed at Juventus


Should Paul Pogba have made the decision to leave Juventus to re-join Man Utd?
While Juventus look to win the first part of an historic treble in Wednesday's Coppa Italia final, Paul Pogba - who is set to miss Manchester United's trip to Southampton on the same night due to personal reasons - is preparing for the Europa League final.
As a result, some have questioned whether the midfielder should ever have left the Bianconeri in the first place.
After months of endless speculation, Pogba finally re-joined United from Juve last summer in a world-record £89.3m transfer that caused more than a few raised eyebrows at the time.
However, while his former side have gone from strength to strength in his absence, with Juventus still on course for a treble, Pogba has endured criticism from some quarters for his displays in a United shirt after struggling to readapt to English football.
Despite Pogba's much-heralded arrival at Old Trafford, the team itself have struggled at times, especially creatively, with United now certain to finish outside the top four of the Premier League this season.
In the aftermath of 'The Old Lady of Italian Football' reaching a second Champions League final in the space of just three years, though, and a sixth straight Serie A title set to follow this weekend, we wonder if Pogba should have stayed in Turin last summer or not
There is no doubt that under Massimiliano Allegri's stewardship, Juventus are now enjoying one of the most successful, if not the most successful, period in the club's illustrious history.
However, this campaign the Bianconeri could do something not even the trophy-laden teams of Giovanni Trapattoni and Marcello Lippi managed, and that is win a treble of Serie A, Copa Italia and European Cup.While Pogba has got his hands on the League Cup in his debut season back at United with the possibility of the Europa League to follow, Jose Mourinho's side currently look a long way from challenging the likes of Juve as one of the best sides on the continent.
So maybe the playmaker should have heeded Allegri's warning just prior to him moving back to United last summer: "Anyone who has the opportunity to leave Juventus has to consider things very carefully, because right now Juve are among the top four European clubs," said the Juve boss.
'There's no doubt Pogba's better in a three-man midfield'
Pogba has scored just four Premier League goals all season, a total he surpassed in every league campaign he spent at the Juventus Stadium.
According to Frank Lampard, however, that is mainly down to the position United manager Jose Mourinho has utilised Pogba in this season, with the France midfielder having often been played in a deep-lying role that does not make the best use of his many talents.
"When Mourinho is playing a two, he wants them to defend," Lampard told
Monday Night Football. "He wants their first thought to be security. I feel harsh criticising him because I don't think it's his real attribute to do that. I feel Mourinho would want a holding midfield player to be doing that job.
"Pogba has the ability to score and create goals, but from the position he's in, it's a long way to go. If he's not close enough, he's not going to get numbers as high as he should. It's a problem for United and Mourinho. If you're going to get the best out of him you have to give him some freedom."
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher agrees, saying: "There's no doubt that he's better in a three-man midfield. That's what you would class as the Frank Lampard position - wide left in a three."
In stark contrast, though, Pogba operated far further forward on the left-hand side of a front three under Antonio Conte and Allegri at Juve, and the results were there for all to see with the player contributing an impressive 34 goals and 43 assists in all competitions in his four seasons in Turin.
All about the money
It seems Pogba has appeared hindered at times this season by the astronomical transfer fee United forked out to lure him back to Old Trafford.
"They only speak about the transfer and about the money," he told Geoff Shreeves in an exclusive interview with
Sky Sports in April.
"I wanted to say, in real life for a normal person, nobody can be worth £100m."
If the France international had stayed at Juventus, though, he could have simply carried on operating free from the constant questions about his supposed value for money.
Champions League, you're having a laugh
The squad Allegri has built in his thrxee years in charge of the Bianconeri is now arguably one of the most formidable in Europe, as demonstrated by the club having just reached its second Champions League final in the space of only three seasons.
However, regardless of whether Juventus get the better of Real Madrid in Cardiff on June 3, this is a team that now looks like challenging for Europe's premier competition on a regular basis.

Sky's Bryan Swanson explains what we know about FIFA's interest in Paul Pogba's transfer to Manchester United last summer
And while money is not the be all and end all for modern-day footballers these days, Pogba may not have earned that amount had he stayed in Turin.
Unfinished business at the Theatre of Dreams
There was always a feeling that Pogba had unfinished business at United after his acrimonious departure from the club in 2012.
At the time, then United boss Sir Alex Ferguson told the Irish Independent Pogba had not "showed us any respect at all to be honest" after joining Juventus following the expiry of his deal.
Pogba, though, said it was like returning "home" to his "first family" after re-signing for United last summer, with the 24-year-old desperate to show United fans what all the fuss had been about since he left the club.
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