Its been largely met with ridicule. Paul Pogba, seriously?
He doesnt try. His work rate sucks. Pogbas no leader. Penalty merchant. Not world class, whatever. But clearly hes good enough to warrant the inclusion given those who voted him into the team are his fellow professionals. You know, the players who have to play against him.
I see Pogba was voted into the team of the season by his fellow professionals. What do they know? Clearly spend far too much time on the football pitch and not enough on Twitter
— Matt Spiro (@mattspiro) April 25, 2019
Jamie Spencer has a different view.
Timing of the vote has an impact, sure. Maybe he wouldnt have been included if votes were cast today. But even while Uniteds performances have fallen off a cliff over the last nine games, Pogba still remains their best player. He was key to their initial revival and is almost always the one most likely to make something happen. It was even true in defeat against City.
United would be nowhere near the top four without him. Paul Pogba is not at fault for having players around him who cant reach his level, but because he stands above the rest, the blame always lies at his feet. People always expect more because hes more capable.
Theres a good argument for United doing everything they can to keep him from Real Madrids clutches over the coming months in light of that. He has two years left on his contract and United have the option to extend by a further year, so the club are in a rare position of power here - they dont have to sell if they dont want to.
But they should sell. Manchester United should absolutely sell Paul Pogba this summer.
He may be their prime asset, and its an admission of inferiority, but its about time this club took a reality check off the pitch. Theyve had enough of them on it of late. Its time they accepted that they are inferior to at least three of the five clubs around them, as well as countless teams across Europe.
They need to gut their current squad, rebuild and start again, and that old cliché of taking a step back to take two steps forward rings true here. I count at least ten players who need shifting as soon as possible, and thats only the start.
Pogba being Uniteds best player by a distance is a problem in itself. They are too reliant on his creativity and too dependent on his performances dragging the team forward. United are also too invested in his commercial value - which is very, very large, in fairness - and the transfer in the first place was undoubtedly made with that in mind.
United are not in a position right now though where that approach will wash. A change in strategy needs to be made now (we can say it until were blue in the face and be no more confident itll happen) and people who are not Ed Woodward need to start making the decisions about who plays for this club and who doesnt.
Hungry players with desire to prove themselves are needed. Selling Pogba, who could fetch as much as £130m in the current market, should give United money to add to a reported £200m transfer budget. And they need to be signing players of a different profile entirely, so theyre able to shift the squad of the character its stuck with as quickly as they possibly can.
Younger, hungrier players with potential to grow. Theres a lot of them about, believe it or not - Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund have been doing it for years and theyre not looking too bad - and while its another (somewhat) submissive move/sign of regression, its the model to follow.
Pogba is a leader in the dressing room, but not the type this team needs. Hes better than the rest, plays like he knows it, and you cant say that his head isnt turned by Real Madrid. His (and Uniteds, coincidence?) performances have dropped off since Zinedine Zidane first declared interest, and Pogba has an agent notorious for chasing a buck and getting in his players ear.
Some think I’m picking on Pogba (I’m not) but this is why I think he has to go.He’s better than current United, doesn’t have the never say die attitude and the money will mean cheaper, hungrier, potential players can be bought.Have to take another step back to go forward.
— Scott Saunders (@_scottsaunders) April 24, 2019
He also seems to know hes superior to those around him. You cant blame him for that, and keep in mind thats got to be quite frustrating. Ideally that wouldnt be the way a World Cup winning midfielder looks at matters, but thats the reality United are faced with. And when thats your leader, its a problem.
Its the right decision from the clubs point of view, but they also owe it to Pogba too. United dont have the pull that they used to, theyre miles away on and off the pitch, and at 26, these will be the peak years of Pogbas career.
Paul Pogba may not be bigger than Manchester United, but he is certainly better than Manchester United.