Paul Pogba cannot get away from the world-record transfer fee Manchester United paid for him last summer.
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Joining United from Juventus for over $111 million, there has been plenty of scrutiny of his performances and plenty of pressure on his shoulders to deliver something special each and every time he steps on the pitch.
Pogba, 23, spoke to the media in Belgium ahead of United’s UEFA Europa League quarterfinal first leg clash with Anderlecht on Thursday and he urged everyone to forget about the price tag.
“The people are looking at me. They judge me for not scoring goals and stuff like this. If I was scoring goals, the people wouldn’t talk like this but it’s football. We can forget about the transfer fee. It’s in the past,” Pogba said. “I am doing a job. I am a midfield player and people think sometimes I’m an attacking player.”
The French international then went on to explain what people should be looking for from him, as his modest tally of four goals and three assists in the Premier League this season have led to plenty of criticism and that’s on top of United battling for fourth-place when many thought they’d challenge for the title.
“When I give some assists to people and we don’t score it can happen, nobody talks about this – but it’s fine because they want me to score goals because of the mountain of the transfer,” Pogba said. “People are looking me saying ‘Pogba should score goals’, ‘Pogba should do this’ – I think you are putting me like as a striker, defender and midfielder. But my job is to be a midfielder, make the game, do some assists and everything.”
Pogba didn’t set the transfer fee and he isn’t short on confidence so the pricetag is hardly weighing heavy on his shoulders. That said, in big moments this season he has gone missing a little. The PL game against Liverpool (the one with his emoji running around the the pitch on the advertising boards) sticks out for his lack of concentration when giving away a penalty, as does his tepid display in the EFL Cup final.
It’s true that United’s fans and neutrals expected much more from Pogba given the fanfare surrounding his arrival last summer and all of the money being thrown his way in wages and endorsements.
Those expectations will never go away. No mater how much Pogba wants them to.