Back in August 2016, the now most expensive football player Paul Pogba, 24, signed for English giants Manchester United penning a five-year deal.
The transfer reached record numbers of £89 million surpassing the numbers of the former most expensive football player Gareth Bale who signed for Real Madrid.
Paul Pogba was described as “one of the best players in the world” by his current coach Jose Mourinho and he had expectations of Pogba being a “key part of the United team”.
With Manchester United being one of the most hated clubs in the Premier League, Pogba was bound to get A LOT of stick for any little mistake he made, rightly so, right? Well, not necessarily.
This season was the season where the club began to build a foundation, bringing in players for the future, we knew it’d take some time for the players to gel.
Paul finished the season with nine goals and five assists in all competitions. He scored five in the Premier League, three in the Europa League and one in the League Cup. Four of his five assists came in the Premier League, the other being in the Europa League.
Now those stats don’t look impressive for the world’s most expensive football player, do they? No, no they don’t. However, let me show you why Paul Pogba has been more beneficial than most people think.
In the past two seasons not counting the one just passed, United have been lacklustre in an attacking sense creating just 391 chances in the first season of the Louis Van Gaal era and only 312 chances in the second season.
It’s a different story for Mourinho’s men, they created 447 chances with Pogba being the most influential player creating 54 chances, the most from any Manchester United Player.
Manchester United have created more but scored less this season than the past two seasons. A huge amount of chances created by Pogba were wasted and this resulted in a small number of assists for him.
Paul created more chances this season than he did his previous season but Dybala was more prolific and could convert more often than the Manchester United Strikers.
Pogba scored more goals in the Serie A last season than in the Premier League this season, this was due to him playing a deeper role and not being given the freedom in a more advanced role. It also wouldn’t have helped that he hit the woodwork 9 times in all competitions by April.
When the winter season came along, Paul spoke to SFR SPORT and said that his role as a midfielder is “not to score” and that he has “a lot of work” such as “winning back possession” and to “dictate play” which he done to an acceptable standard.
He won 41 tackles and completed 1812 successful passes, that’s 413 more successful passes than last season where he played 410 minutes more which results to roughly 5 games.
Pogba was able to help United defensively making 44 clearances and 42 interceptions. This contributed to United having a strong defence all season and having 17 clean sheets, joint most with second in the table Tottenham Hotspur, much better than the first season in the LVG era where we only had 11 clean sheets.
Although we had more clean sheets in the second season with LVG we conceded 35 goals. This is when you notice the positive impact Pogba had on United this season and performed better than most thought.
Whatever you may think of Pogba, he will always be a world-class player who will continue to prove many people wrong. His haircuts, dabs, celebrations and banter will continue and so will his playing ability, it’s time people stopped being so critical all the time and started to appreciate the talent.
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