Paul Pogba has broken his only promise to Manchester United fans – Steven Railston


If you were browsing social media just before bed on the night of August 8, 2016, you may have been surprised to see Manchester United confirm the world record signing of Paul Pogba shortly after the clock struck midnight.

It was certainly unorthodox to announce Pogba’s much-anticipated £89m signing at 00:36 BST, but that timing was obviously deliberate. That’s because the time coincided with morning travelers in the Far East and evening travelers in North America, the world’s most lucrative market and where the Glazers are located. Pogba’s return made world news, unsurprisingly.

The midfielder had enjoyed a remarkable rise at Juventus after leaving United in 2012. At 24, he was already considered one of the best midfielders in the world and had scored 34 goals and created 40 assists in his four years in Turin.

He was considered the last signing at United. José Mourinho loved him, his commercial appeal was enormous and his possible romantic comeback.

Those positives were the only things UK-based United fans focused on when they woke up that summer morning to the news of Pogba’s arrival.

The timing of the announcement, frankly, didn’t matter. It was a minor detail lost in the excitement of making a world record signing, for a player who had been shaped and nurtured in the club’s youth academy.

As social media filled with the news of Pogba’s return, the player couldn’t help but share with MUTV his delight at being back in Manchester. “There are no words, to be honest, there are no words,” said Pogba, a wide smile on his face.

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“I just got back to Carrington. It was like I just got back home. I went on vacation, it feels like I went on vacation. The thing with me is that I only think about the pitch. I want to do great, I want to be one of the best. I want to win titles,” he added.

“I want to achieve things and that’s it, that’s why I came here, just to do this, to become one of the best and win titles because I know this club has to win titles. I just focus on this and that’s it. I’m ready to go and work on it and kill him.”

While Pogba said all the right things on his return six years ago, the truth is that he hasn’t kept his promises since then.

His time at United has been a failure. Pogba wanted to win titles, harbored ambitions to win the Premier League and compete for the Champions League with United, but in his place he has only been involved in Europa League and League Cup wins.

Success is measured by trophies at United and Pogba hasn’t won the big trophies he wanted in 2016.

United thought they were signing the complete player, one who could dominate the midfield at Old Trafford for the next decade, but the reality has been sobering. Pogba’s brilliance has not been seen consistently enough. His natural talent places him among the best players in the world, but he has not been displayed in the best way at United. Only France has enjoyed that privilege.

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The frustrations United fans have had with Pogba have been exacerbated by his agent, Mino Raiola, over the years.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s distaste for Pogba’s manager is on record and Raiola’s relationship with United hasn’t exactly improved since the legendary boss’s departure. Raiola is not one to shy away from the spotlight and his public comments on Pogba have been disturbing.

Such comments have not helped Pogba’s popularity, while he too is disappointed on the pitch. The noise would also be easier to ignore if Pogba were helping United fight for titles, which he isn’t. Pogba looked genuinely world-class at the start of the season, but he began to regress hopelessly. He then suffered a thigh injury in November with France and has not played since.

Pogba returned to full training earlier than expected last week, but when he returns to the pitch, perhaps against Middlesbrough or Burnley, he will only have a few months left on his contract at Old Trafford. His days at the club seem numbered for the second time.

United have been in talks over the possibility of extending Pogba’s contract for months and little progress has been made in talks. That means Pogba could leave on a free transfer on July 1, strangely 10 years after his last free game.

Pogba spoke of winning big titles with United, but could leave the club in a few months with two trophies that will be just a footnote in the club’s history for years to come; they pale in importance to United’s previous achievements.

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Pogba has not triumphed at United as everyone expected.

It’s time to end his story in Manchester, it’s time to let him go.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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