It now seems very certain that Paul Pogba will leave Manchester United this summer, after weeks of speculation which pointed at the same certainty.
One question that might begs explanation is where it went wrong for the Frenchman at the club that developed him as a youngster?
It isn’t just Pogba who should be blamed for not being committed enough. The way Manchester United are run is to be equally blamed. If United had football people running the club, Pogba’s situation might have been under control.
The lack of a leader at the top of the structure made sure that players took playing for the club for granted and had an easy ride. Pogba was one of them. He was allowed to get away with things that a well-run club should never allow players to do.
A leader like figure at the club could have dealt with the situation way back before it escalated. He could have disciplined Pogba better. When Jose Mourinho tried to discipline Pogba, he could never succeed with it because of pressure from the board to do what they wanted.
It is crucial to note that Mourinho never wanted to sell Pogba. He wanted to tap into the potential that the Frenchman had unexplored inside him. He wanted to discipline him and mature his attitude so that he became a better footballer. But Pogba’s response didn’t help anyone. He responded in a manner that would never benefit any footballer.
He went onto question Mourinho- the man who was trying to improve him. He questioned his playing style and tactics despite being handed the captain’s armband. He created problems for himself and never worked hard enough, as a result. He had a massive role in getting Mourinho sacked too.
There is little doubt that Pogba can be pretty much world class on his day- even though that day comes once in a month. But United did everything to make him work. Mourinho signed Nemanja Matic to hand Pogba a free role and then signed Fred.
But the irony lies in the very fact that United’s best moment of the previous season came without Pogba at his hometown- Paris. The players looked up for a fight against PSG in the second leg and they gave their all, coming back from the 2-0 deficit to oust PSG 3-1 at the Parc des Princes.
Talking of Pogba being a leader- a leader is a character who can lift players in the side. A leader takes the other players to the next level even if they are mediocre. What Gareth Bale did at Tottenham was world class. His presence made many mediocre players play well- exactly what Luis Suarez did at Liverpool. But it isn’t something Pogba ever did at United.
And he isn’t irreplaceable. Pogba’s playing abilities were never questioned but his lack of desire and commitment was. Even if United get a replacement who is slightly less able but with fire in his belly, he would become a fan favorite like Ander Herrera was. That is why Bruno Fernandes and Giovani Lo Celso are being seen as possible replacements.