Arsenal may have been linked with a move for the Juventus midfielder, but a rumour is all it will prove to be.
We all know the story. Or perhaps more specifically, we know both stories. One is that French midfielder Paul Pogba simply wanted game time at Manchester United, seeking faith from his manager and finding none. The other is that the player’s agent played a major role in the then-19-year-old’s decision to sign for Juventus on a free transfer last summer.
Whichever story you believe – or whether the truth is a combination of the two – one thing is certain: Pogba has proved just how good he is with some outstanding displays for both club and country since his move to Italy.
From being rarely seen but often discussed at Old Trafford, the Frenchman was part of the Juventus first team from day one, making 22 appearances for the Serie A champions and scoring 5 goals in the process. He also made his senior international debut in March.
In short, the last 12 months have been the making of Pogba.
And now, if reports are to be believed, Arsenal are interested. Having missed out on the player when he initially made the controversial switch to Old Trafford, Arsene Wenger is understandably keen to work with one of French football’s brightest lights.
But reports that Arsenal are readying a £17million bid smacks of the shy boy plucking up the courage to ask out the prettiest girl in school. They may ask, but it is unlikely they will receive the answer they hoped for.
There is no doubt Pogba would excel at Arsenal. But having just played a major role in the Bianconeri’s title success, and gearing up for a Champions League campaign with a side whose forward line is in the process of becoming quite the force, why would the 20-year-old leave for the Emirates?
It certainly wouldn’t be for the money, which both he and his agent have been accused of chasing in the past. Should he wish to swell his bank balance he should head to Manchester City, who are also said to be long-term admirers.
Of course he could return simply to show United what they are missing from this side of the Mediterranean. But that would be illogical.
The truth is Arsenal have no chance of signing Pogba because they missed the boat. Had he chosen the Gunners over United when he initially moved from Le Havre he would probably still be there, dominating the midfield, with more than one first team season behind him.
But that time has passed, and Wenger can only regret a missed opportunity. Pogba and Jack Wilshere running the midfield – that would have been quite a sight.
As it is, Pogba will almost certainly remain in Italy. Having just dusted off his talent, why would they sell him; even if there are indiscretions to iron out of his game?
And when he does eventually leave Turin, it is far more likely to be for La Liga.
He may move from club to club, as some players do, never committing for longer than it takes to win a trophy. But with time, patience and a home in which to develop, he could become one of the very best.
Arsenal fans can dream of Pogba’s arrival, and papers can write about it, but there is a very simple reason he will not arrive. Manchester United no doubt regret the fact that he left. He was their missing link, and he has proved in the intervening months just how good he is.
Juventus are unlikely to make the same mistake.
images: © Romana Correale,