Pogba has been in decent form so far this season and has already registered seven assists in a United team that has not always hit the heights.
The 28-year-old is out of contract next summer and free to talk to clubs abroad from January. So far, he hasn’t really given any clear indication as to what he intends to do with his next career move.
When asked about a move back to Juventus after France’s game against Belgium, Pogba expressed his admiration for the Old Lady but refused to be drawn into speculation;
“I still speak to my ex-teammates, like Paulo Dybala,” Pogba told Italian outlet Mediaset.
“I’m at Manchester [United] and have a year left on my contract, and then we’ll see.
“I want to finish well there and then see what happens.”
Throughout Pogba’s time in a United shirt, he’s arguably failed to really grasp a position on the field, playing in several roles. Sometimes he’d play as the number eight. Other times, he’d play as a number 10 and more recently, during the past couple of seasons, he’s been playing on the left.
Despite starting well this season, the feeling remains that Pogba still produces his best for Les Bleus. There is an underlying point that we need to address.
Great as an eight
Pogba’s best position is in that number eight role. He does the most damage in this area. He’s also at his best when he doesn’t have to worry about defending for his team.
This hasn’t happened at United because Ole Gunnar Solskjaer doesn’t have a tenacious holding midfielder to accommodate Pogba’s needs and offer a balance in the middle of the park. Nemanja Matic solves the issue of allowing Pogba to go forward, but he isn’t mobile enough cover the pitch effectively at 33 years of age.
Paul Pogba of France in action during the UEFA Nations League Finals 2021 final football match between Spain and France at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium, Milan, Italy on October 10, 2021.
If we analyse Pogba’s performance in the Nations League final against Spain, he was influential in Didier Deschamps’ side coming from behind to win 2-1 in Milan.
He had an 82% pass accuracy, made 78 touches, completed six successful dribbles, won two aerial duels and three tackles. He was also only dispossessed on one occasion and had two shots in the game. It was the perfect attacking and defensive display from a box-to-box midfielder.
Monaco youngster Aurelien Tchouameni was pivotal in terms of giving Pogba the platform to shine so brightly. The 21-year-old was brought in by Deschamps to replace Adrien Rabiot and it’s safe to say he didn’t disappoint.
A holding midfielder, Tchouameni has won plaudits across the globe and emerged into one of the brightest talents in his position. He was tentatively linked with a move to United in the summer.
Against Spain, he brought the best out of Pogba because of the space he covered to help his defence. He averaged a 79% pass accuracy, won eight duels, made two successful tackles, completed four interceptions and six recoveries. Those stats underlined a brilliant display that complemented Pogba’s attributes.
With France, Pogba has always had a defensive midfielder next to him, whether it be Tchouameni, N’Golo Kante or Blaise Matuidi. At United, although he had that with Matic, the Serbian was arguably past his best when he began lining up with him in a double pivot.
United supporters have been crying out for a holding midfielder to give Solskjaer’s team some balance. Before the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, supporters demanded someone who was a specialist number six. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.
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Although Declan Rice is known to be United’s desired candidate for the role, Tchouameni has shown for club and country that he could be the perfect fit for the role. He brings out the best in Pogba and would almost certainly be far cheaper than West Ham favourite Rice.
United need to make a move quickly in order to solve Pogba’s problem in a red shirt. There will be others monitoring Tchouameni and he will be in hot demand, so a bid in January might be the best solution, especially if the Reds continue performing as they have been recently.
He could just be the answer to United and Pogba’s midfield issues at Old Trafford.