Old Trafford or Bernabéu? Pogba at the cross roads

Written by Ben Blaschke

On the eve of the mouth-watering semi-finals of Euro 2016, the host nation is eyeing their huge clash against Germany with great anticipation after their key man, Paul Pogba, finally lived up to his potential in a 5-2 win over Iceland last start.

Pogba unleashed his lethal skills at the perfect time, showing the world that the 23-year-old has taken the weight of the world off his shoulders. Now, the young French midfielder also finds himself in the middle of a transfer battle between two of the richest clubs in the world.

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Pogba is a modern example of the complete midfielder who can defend well while always having an eye for goal. With very strong technical skills and an aerial advantage thanks to his towering physique, he can play different roles in midfield. He is considered a better player than a young Yaya Toure and has been the key player in the Juventus renaissance.

That he will now cost his suitors as much as £84 million must break the hearts of Manchester United fans, as he was once a United player only to be lost due to a lack of playing time – having featured just three times in the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

Sir Alex Ferguson was furious at the deal which saw him move to Juventus at the age of 19. His agent, Mino Raiola, was blamed for agitating the move. But frankly speaking, Pogba would have still been sitting on the bench if he had stayed at United while Juventus promised him first team appearances. United never had the chance to trigger a one-year renewal option when Pogba’s deal expired in 2012, because the player was confident and ambitious enough to play in the first team.


Luckily, while Raiola and Ferguson held a mutual dislike for one another, the Italian super-agent gets along well with José Mourinho and helped the Portuguese sign Zlatan Ibrahimović not long ago. This relationship gives United some advantages, although Pogba’s €300,000-per-week salary may be an issue.

Conversely, it won’t be a big problem if Pogba decides to go to the Bernabéu with British media reporting that Real Madrid lead the race for his signature. It will still be some time before any deal is finalized with such deals typically taking months – as we learned from the previous examples of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez – but one thing for sure is that Pogba is set to embark on an exciting new challenge.