Paul Pogba’s time at Man United is coming to an end, but can he leave with a Champions League legacy?

Paul Pogba There will be costs Manchester United £179.6m in transfer fees and wages by the time his contract at Old Trafford expires at the end of June. He now has less than six months to deliver some value for money by help his drift club salvage something tangible in Premier League or Champions League from their dismal season.

When you break down the financial impact of Pogba’s time at United since his return to the club from Juventus in a world record £89.1m deal in 2016, no positive numbers.

The France The midfielder made 213 first team appearances at a cost of £84,319.25 per game and his 38 goals have been scored at a rather expensive rate of £4,726,315.79 per game. And the two major trophies that Pogba helped United win in his nearly six years at the club – the Carabao Cup and Europa League in 2017 – cost £89.8m each.

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If the 28-year-old has contributed to a Premier League title or Champions League win, the huge financial outlay for his fees and £290,000-a-week salary could be well worth it. But as the clock ticks down to the final months of his time at United before he is expected to leave as a free agent in the summer, it cannot be assumed the move has paid off. for club or player, unless you want factor. to boost both parties’ social media followings during their time together.

Although Pogba was not the transfer signing United expected and needed when he arrived at the club shortly after being appointed head coach of Jose Mourinho in the summer of 2016, the failure His performance is not entirely due to his shortcomings and inconsistent form. . United let Pogba down, just as they could argue he failed to serve them.

When he re-signed six years ago, four years after initially leaving Old Trafford for Juventus for a fee of less than £800,000 to cover his development years at United, Pogba was then 23. was sold off a leading vision. the team returned to the top of the game, with success in England and Europe quickly returned to the Premier League’s biggest and most successful club. That obviously didn’t happen, but since 2016 United have barely built a team around Pogba capable of winning the biggest trophies.

The only two defensive midfielders the club have signed since Pogba’s arrival are Nemanja Matic and Fred. And in terms of attacking midfielders, they just added Bruno Fernandes and Donny van de Beek. Fernandes has enjoyed huge success since signing a £56.7m deal from Sports CP in January 2020, but Matic, Fred and Van de Beek would be considered additions to the squad of most United rivals and certainly not players with the qualities needed to take a team to new heights.

In the same time period Liverpool more Georginio Wijnaldum, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho, Naby Keita and Thiago Alcantara to their midfield while City of Manchester Signed Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva, Rodri and Jack Grealish as well as enhance Phil Foden for the first team. Compare those additions to United and it’s easy to see the huge gap in quality between the new faces at Anfield and the Etihad versus the faces at Old Trafford.

Had Pogba been surrounded by players of similar caliber, the past six years could have been vastly different for both United and Pogba, but the reality is that the team has stood still – many would even argue that it has recession. That left Pogba on the spot, creating a moment of uncanny brilliance but mostly disappointment. United let him down by not being able to sign the kind of player Pogba was surrounded by while playing for World Cup winners France, but sometimes a player as big as Pogba needs to be the driving force on the pitch. the people around him to higher heights and his failure to do so is entirely his fault.

Between now and the end of the season, Pogba has 16 Premier League games – starting from Burnley on Tuesday – and potentially seven Champions League games will be the player United expect him to feature in 2016 and become a talisman that can inspire Ralf Rangnick’s side to top four or what seems like Champions League glory.

Injury has seen Pogba miss 84 United games since 2016. His return comes after a 10-week absence due to a hamstring problem. FA Cup fourth round loss on Friday against Middlesbrough (replay on ESPN+ in the US) has shown why Pogba can become such an important United player when he is fit and ready. Losing on the penalty shootout eventually captured the headlines, but Pogba’s 82 minutes on the pitch was a positive in that he won a penalty (missed by Cristiano Ronaldo) and gave United a technical ability in the center of the pitch that no other player at Old Trafford could offer.

Pogba can link play, he can carry the ball from defense to attack and his creativity in the attacking third of the pitch makes the team a stronger force. In Premier League appearances for United alone, he has provided more assists than goals (36/28) in 143 league games since returning in 2016. But unless he can create footballing miracles by inspiring United to Champions League success this season – they face Atlético Madrid in the round of 16 taking place this month – Pogba’s time at Old Trafford will certainly be judged as an overflowing disappointment.

He can’t escape that reality, and what fans should at least expect is that Pogba will end up on a good note – even if it just means helping United qualify for the Champions League season. next; it’s a challenge he should give everything to meet.

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