The dangers of small sample sizes are everpresent, and no one thinks Paul Pogba is going to ring up 67 assists this Premier League season despite his incredible start to the season.
Yes, Manchester United supporters, even with Cristiano Ronaldo back in the fold.
Pogba’s seven assists through four matches are four more than his nearest competitors in the Premier League. Only Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema and Hoffenheim’s Andrej Kramaric have hit four in the top leagues of Europe yet to play their fifth matchday.
[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]
Take your Mohamed Salahs, Romelu Lukakus, and Michail Antonios, as well as anyone else in the PL through four weeks and you will not find a player in finer form than the 28-year-old Pogba.
Consider his standings amongst all players in the league through four weeks (SofaScore):
- 1st in assists
- 3rd in accurate long balls (2nd for field players)
- t-11th in successful dribbles
- t-11th in total passes
- t-7th in key passes
- t-2nd in fouls, t-39th in fouls drawn
- t-35th in duels won
And over the last 365 days amongst midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues, Pogba’s per-90 stats find him in the 99th percentile for assists, the 93rd for shot-creating actions, the 96th for touches in the attacking penalty areea, and the 92nd percentile in areas won (according to FBRef.com).
He’s been incredible, the star of Man United’s 4-1 win over Newcastle even if Ronaldo’s debut collected most of the headlines.
Will Pogba stay at Manchester United?
Now a report from our friends at Sky Sports claims that United’s impressive summer recruitment has opened Pogba’s eyes to a new contract at Old Trafford.
Surely whatever Ronaldo’s being paid won’t hurt the cause, but the facts are simple to understand: United has opened its vaults to buy and sign Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho while also investing in the future over the last few seasons.
Pogba’s contract ends in the summer so it would be a serious commitment for the World Cup winner to sign a new deal before seeing what offers are on the table from Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, and whoever else come January.
But Ronaldo’s return will show Pogba that Old Trafford holds a special place for someone who’s also played at Real Madrid (as well as their shared former club of Juventus).
That said, what about United? Obviously at some point there are books to balance and Pogba and younger players who might cost less by the week (Ruben Neves seems the most interesting comparison).
We’ve spoken and written about the need for United to clinch monster signings like Sancho to show that they’re the same powerful club that would bring in the world’s biggest names… and that they can keep them. Does Pogba apply here, too?