He was once in love with the city, but former Manchester United midfielder and apparent target most probably won't want to return…
Hailing Paul Pogba to have such potential that he could go on to become another Yaya Toure would not be a hyperbolic statement but fair comment considering the exceptional performances and room for personal growth that the 20-year-old has exhibited in the past 18 months at Juventus in Serie A, which makes pundits wonder whether Gianluigi Buffon was correct in his insinuation that, when it comes to spotting footballing talent the Manchester United coaching staff may not have 20-20 vision.
Of course, the development of Adnan Januzaj, the faith the Stretford staff placed in him and the repayment of that trust with the production of dynamic form quashes that notion and it may well be agonising for United fans to imagine, but there could have been a time when Pogba, Januzaj and Juan Mata operated in the same midfield - with reports fast coming in that the Spanish playmaker may even undergo a medical examination this week ahead of a prospective £37m transfer from Premier League rivals Chelsea.
Whatever happens, one man unlikely to represent United is Pogba.
The versatile Frenchman credited the city, as well as his initial impressions of Sir Alex Ferguson but cites limited opportunity in the first-team, even when there was a crisis of specialist midfield players, as the cause of his United experience to all of a sudden become unpalatable - as Pogba, despite he feels, being ready, was overlooked.
'It was a very very difficult moment for me because I was in love with Manchester and I was a Mancunian. And when I arrived I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was Ferguson - I was loving it,' he is quoted to have said by Daily Star.
'It was the match against Blackburn on December 2011 at Old Trafford. Paul Scholes had retired, Michael Carrick was injured, Darren Fletcher was injured. There was no one left to play in midfield. And I was training and I was beginning to get better bit by bit and the coach never stopped telling me ‘you’re this far, you’re this far’.
'And I didn’t understand. This far away from what? Playing? From having some playing time? From getting on the field. Or what? And there was Rafael in midfield and I was disgusted. I was disgusted and I didn’t get on either. I’d lost that thing, that relation that I had with the coach. I was really disappointed, really disappointed.
'I was pushed. My eyes were opened. I’d made this decision to sign with Juventus. There was nothing to regret.'
Indeed, Pogba has since flourishined in Serie A and has, thus far, returned six goals and six assists in the division after 20 appearances. He also commits to a tackle approximately three times per match, provides a key chance every 50 minutes and has a passing accuracy of 85%.
He is valued by transfermarkt.co.uk at £30m.
image: © Romana Correale