Paul Pogba is always the centre of attention. Whether it’s the English media’s obsession with him or his agent, Mino Raiola, fuelling talks of his client leaving Manchester United and directing critical comments toward the board and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on behalf of the player. Since returning to Old Trafford in August 2016, he has been in the limelight on a regular basis but his inconsistent performances have not had him in the news for the right reasons.
Over the last couple of weeks, speculation has mounted on Pogba and his current contract with the club, which comes to an end in June 2022. At the moment, he is earning an estimated figure of around £290,000 a week and the Red Devils are looking to make him the highest paid player in the squad, with David De Gea earning £375,000 and Cristiano Ronaldo earning £385,000.
The former Juventus midfielder has been at United for the last five years and, despite the quality he is blessed with, he has not utilised produced many memorable displays and performances. If he was to leave English football at the end of the season, the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne and N’golo Kante would end their football careers with a better legacy in the Premier League than the 28-year-old, who has only shown his talent in flashes and moments.
Pogba’s weaknesses have shown to be quite clear, such as his lack of defensive discipline and his tendency to take one touch too many. This lets him down as well as his side in midfield. Furthermore, the opposition seemingly regard him as a weak link in the middle of the pitch, often approaching him with an aggressive press and often forcing him into mistakes and unnecessary errors.
It’s no surprise that he has thrived on international duty and during his time in Serie A, where the football is played at a slower tempo and not with the high intensity and end-to-end action that is witnessed week in and out in the Premier League. Although there are mixed opinions on the player within the fanbase, the time has come where him leaving the club could be the best outcome for all parties.
There are not a lot of individuals that come close to Pogba in terms of natural ability and capability. However, AC Milan’s Franck Kessie should be regarded as the ideal player to replace Pogba at Old Trafford. He has established himself as a top class box-to-box midfielder and he is confident carrying the ball from midfield to attack whilst making late runs into the final third.
Kessie has previously expressed his desires to play in the Premier League and for the Red Devils, the club he has reportedly been a fond of for quite some time. Not only that but the United supporters will surely be aware of his abilities,, as he played in both Europa League fixtures for the Italian giants last season and showed off his physical attributes as well as the intelligence to nullify the opposition.
In the long run within the midfield department, the side would be looking to target an experienced and quality holding midfielder in Declan Rice or Marcelo Brozovic, someone who can dictate the play from deep and help the team on and off the ball. Bruno Fernandes will be utilised in his current position as the attacking midfielder, helping the team through his creativity and final third brilliance.
This leaves an empty spot in the midfield that is appropriate for the AC Milan midfielder, who will be offering his services on both sides of the pitch, especially in the opponent’s half as the team are expected to dominate possession. With Solskjaer’s days looking to be numbered at Old Trafford, United will be hoping to setup within a 4-3-3 formation with the intention of controlling the game and constantly being on the front foot, something they are failing to do under the current coach.
Overall, majority of the top teams in Europe have one or two luxury players to accommodate and compensate for, which United already have in Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo, who currently play a more influential role than Pogba in the team. And if the club were to replace the Frenchman with Kessie, they would have the balance in midfield to compete for titles and trophies.
If the United board want to go the extra mile, rather than waiting until the summer to sign the AC Milan midfielder on a free transfer, they could offer the Italian side a figure of around £10million in the January window to attain the services of the Ivory Coast international. This could be seen as the smarter and more straightforward route, as he will be one of the most wanted players next summer.
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