Picture the scene. Paul Pogba bowing to rapturous applause before an enthusiastic fist bump from Pep Guardiola confirms his telling impact on debut for Manchester City after bagging four assists against Leeds – entertaining yet expansive all the same under new management.
Pogba divides opinion like no other Manchester United player. However, it is only through a potential shock switch across to the blue side of this famous footballing city that supporters at Old Trafford and beyond would, finally, get their definitive stance on Pogba once and for all.
Imperious for France, inconsistent for United. That has been a running theme ever since his blockbuster £89million returned to the club in 2016 after four glittering years for Juventus in that sedate (and sublime) Turin setting. You may, perhaps, argue that spell had already offered up answers before such questions on him were posed.
READ MORE: Man City stance on signing Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba
“You have to be honest, these last five seasons have not satisfied me, really not at all. This year is dead as we won’t win anything. Whether it’s with Manchester United or another club, I want to win trophies.”
Pogba dropped the biggest hint yet that he will depart Old Trafford for a second time – both as a free agent – when his contract expires this summer. During those words he uttered to Le Figaro while on international duty, too, came a final straw for even the staunchest members of the pro-Pogba brigade.
That make-believe scenario at the start is only part fiction. Pogba was mesmeric on the opening day for United this season and maybe, just maybe, it seemed as though he would finally kick on and produce regular heroics he does as and when draped in his beloved tricolor flag and/or shirt.
Ultimately, though, it will be his ‘highlights’ reel from April through May that provides a more indicative glimpse for his second coming and proof that his departure is best for all parties concerned; all this coming from someone who has, before now, done their utmost to champion Pogba and why his side of the story is worth supporting.
His on-off relationship with United supporters turned sour against Norwich, his contribution against Liverpool down without so much as a whimper and then, in the space of 24 hours, a little social media entertainment was ultimately followed by a transfer bombshell that has got those from both sides of this famous footballing city talking.
Pre-planned or coincidental timing? That will remain up for debate.
However, when City were offered Pogba four years ago, there was still enough hope and expectation he would be the one to help bring back past glories to Old Trafford. Fast forward to the present day, though, and you may find it tough to find a single United fan who wouldn’t give up their services to drive him to the Etihad Stadium themselves.
Change is on the horizon for United and, so too, it seems for Pogba. City might well be his next destination, as well, even if PSG, Juventus or Real Madrid have something to say about that.
Either way, there ought to be little interest in how Pogba fares at those or another European heavyweight. But that will, at the same time, provide clear evidence that returning to United in their current guise was not the right match for the Frenchman all along.
Sign up to our United newsletter so you never miss an update from Old Trafford this season.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.