2019/20 has been, by far, the worst season of Paul Pogba’s professional career. The Frenchman has managed just 70 minutes since September, contributing a mere two assists and zero goals. He’s been beset by injuries, clashed with his manager, and has constantly been linked with a move away.
After all of that, it finally seems as if Pogba is going to return from the ankle injuries which have kept him sidelined. Just how important could this prove for Manchester United in the last few months of the season, and what can we expect from the superstar midfielder?
As it stands, United are only six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea. With that young team’s form erratic, at best, the Red Devils are still very much in the hunt. In fact, many betting websites already have United positioned to finish fourth. If Pogba and Fernandes can quickly build a relationship – and form a highly mobile, technically-accomplished and physically-combative midfield trio with the resurgent Fred – there’s absolutely no reason why fans shouldn’t expect a top four finish, and a return to the Champions League once more.
A Desperate Need
Manchester United finished sixth in 2018/19, and are currently languishing in the Europa League places once more. While the defence was strengthened by summer arrivals, it’s no secret their main weakness lies at the other end of the pitch. They’ve scored 24 fewer goals than league leaders Liverpool, and trail last season’s 9th-placed team – Leicester – by 18.
Unsurprisingly, United were linked with a litany of attacking players in January. The problem was… none of them wanted to come. In this day and age, where every major club can offer vast wages and publicity, you simply need Champions League football to attract the game’s big stars.
To finally kick on with their rebuild, United must get back into the world’s most prestigious club competition. To do that, they surely require a contribution from their highest-paid – and best – outfield player, Paul Pogba.
What Pogba Brings
If we’re talking sheer ‘ability’, Pogba must still be listed alongside the best midfielders in the world. While the perception is that he’s never truly hit his peak at United, he still made a massive contribution on a lackluster team in his last full season – 2018/19 – playing in 35 games, and registering a career-high 13 goals and nine assists.
At his best, Pogba is a dynamic all-round player. He’s got the physicality and drive of a box-to-box midfielder, the vision and passing range of a playmaker, good finishing abilities, and – an often-overlooked skill – he’s an excellent penalty taker too. If he can get up to match speed sooner rather than later, all these traits should provide a massive boost for a United side sorely lacking in creativity and goal threats.
What Can We Expect?
Realistically, Pogba probably won’t be at United much longer. Having made no secret of his desire to leave last summer, he was almost on the way out again in January. Most United fans would agree the thrilling £90 million transfer has never entirely worked out, and the relationship has probably run its course. All they can ask now is that Pogba contributes to the best of his abilities while he’s still at the club.
While they did strike out on several big names, United still managed to land one of their main targets in January – midfield dynamo Bruno Fernandes. Fernandes represents a similar all-round threat to Pogba, having already gotten an excellent eight goals and seven assists this season. The thought of these two playing together is mouth-watering, whether you’re a United fan or not.