Saturday 1 October 2016

How good is Paul Pogba and why have Manchester United signed him now?

Published 09/08/2016 | 15:16

Paul Pogba's first stint at Manchester United was from 2009 to 2012.
Paul Pogba's first stint at Manchester United was from 2009 to 2012.

Paul Pogba has rejoined Manchester United from Juventus for a world-record £89million, four years after leaving the club for a nominal sum.

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Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of the key questions surrounding the deal for the 23-year-old France midfielder.

What happened when he was at the club before?

After arriving from Le Havre in 2009 as a 16-year-old, Pogba went on to play a key role in the 2010-11 FA Youth Cup triumph and was viewed as a rising star likely to be a future first-team regular.

But he departed in the summer of 2012 to join Juventus, having made only seven senior appearances , all from the bench, and turned down an offer from United of a new contract.

Then Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson said he did not think Pogba "showed us any respect at all" and has also described his own relationship with the player's agent Mino Raiola as being "like oil and water". In 2014, Pogba himself said he thought United showed him "disrespect" - although he now says he feels "happy" to have "come back home".

So how good is he now?

Pretty good - as his CV would suggest. Pogba helped Juventus win Serie A in each of his four seasons with them, in the last two they also claimed the Coppa Italia, he was almost celebrating a treble in 2015 when they reached the Champions League final only to be beaten by Barcelona, plus he was part of the France side who were runners up at Euro 2016.

And in terms of his specific attributes, he really is quite the package: a dynamic box-to-box midfielder blessed with flair, fine tackling and passing ability and a goalscoring threat.

Is he worth the money?

Of course that remains to be seen. But United have splashed out on a player who in many ways is exactly the kind they need on the pitch. Pogba is still young, and should settle quickly given his familiarity with the club and English football - plus he comes with the added bonus of being, due to his considerable global profile, a highly marketable name.

The fee is obviously huge but it is in keeping with the current football landscape, and one can only imagine United, as they look to reassert themselves, will very much enjoy having the status symbol that is having the world's most expensive player in their team.

What are United's prospects with him on board?

With Pogba back at the club alongside the likes of fellow summer signings Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, all working under new boss Jose Mourinho, things are certainly looking exciting for United.

And there are plenty of reasons to believe the newest recruit can keep his run of league title triumphs going in 2016-17 - although with the way other clubs are shaping up at the same time, it is looking like the hardest Premier League season yet for predicting champions.

What seems beyond doubt is that United will have a better team for the addition of Pogba, who has made no secret of his own lofty ambitions for the years ahead: winning the Premier League, the Champions League and the Ballon d'Or.

Press Association

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