There appear to be two Paul Pogbas. The one on the field, and the one off it.
The Paul Pogba on the field is one of the best midfielders in the world. Graceful on the ball, displaying incredible strength, speed and technique, Pogba played a big (though not the biggest) role in France’s run to the 2018 World Cup title, and then Pogba turned around, showed up in Manchester and five days later, captained Manchester United to a season-opening win over Leicester City. Pogba even showed his mettle with an expertly taken penalty kick.
Pogba also appears to be well liked by his teammates, both for his personality and of course his skills on the field.
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But the Pogba off the field is a different story. Despite constant denials in public from Manchester United or Pogba himself, rumors continue to persist that he either doesn’t get along with manager Jose Mourinho, wants to leave Manchester United for the likes of Barcelona or Real Madrid, or both. None of this “off the field Pogba” news is ever reported publicly. We learn about it through the whispers and second-hand knowledge of the transfer rumor network, which should always be taken with a grain of salt.
That said, the latest rumors of a bust-up between Pogba and Mourinho (which were again, denied vehemently and quickly by the club) just makes you wonder what is really going on. Is there a disconnect between the love that Pogba appears to feel when he’s on the field than the love he’s apparently not getting, either from his manager or from an inflated sense of worth.
With the Premier League transfer window now closed, the chances of Pogba leaving Manchester United before January are incredibly small, if not zero. If Man United truly wants to challenge Manchester City, it couldn’t do so without Pogba or a replacement that could have come in for him. And even then, who could replace Pogba? He’s unique, with the pace of Robert Pires, the grace on the ball of Zinedine Zidane and the strength of Patrick Vieira.
But ultimately, Pogba and Mourinho are going to have to find some common ground. It appears to be the immovable force meets the unstoppable object. For Manchester United’s benefits, both need to concede a bit and come together. Otherwise Pogba, and or Mourinho, could be gone.