Many have said that after leaving Manchester United the only way is down. Former players speak from experience and most would agree, though it’s not always true.
Paul Pogba would deny it. Since leaving Old Trafford for Turin four years ago, the midfielder has risen to a level where he is considered to be one of the most valuable and talented players in the world. Establishing himself immediately at such a young age at Juventus, Pogba has won Serie A every season from first joining.
The Frenchman firmly believes he made the correct decision. Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t think he made a step down when leaving for Real Madrid in 2009 and nor did Pique a year later when he joined Barcelona. Even Danny Simpson and Danny Drinkwater could consider seeing the back of Manchester as a blessing after winning the league with Leicester City last season.
Yet those players packing their bags was expected; the same can’t be said for Pogba. A star in the FA Youth Cup winning side in 2011 with his renewed teammates Sam Johnstone and Jesse Lingard, it seemed as though there was only one man who thought he wasn’t ready to make the step up.
Pogba assumed he deserved a chance to give Sir Alex Ferguson a 70th birthday treat as United welcomed Blackburn Rovers on New Year’s Eve 2011. Given the circumstances it was a surprise to everyone when he wasn’t selected. With no central midfielders available Rafael, a right back, and Park Ji-Sung, usually played wide, were favoured. Looking on as an unused substitute in a 3-2 loss was when the now 23-year-old lost patience.
With United re-employing him for a world-record transfer fee, some will laugh. No doubt the greatest manager in football history got it all wrong, yet with the money coming out of the much disliked Glazers’ pockets and not the fans’, they need not to worry and will relish having one of the biggest prospects about to hit his prime in their side next season.
Pogba represents a massive move in the right direction for Jose Mourinho’s masterplan. United’s midfield since Paul Scholes retired has represented a void, despite numerous attempts to fill it. Pogba, who will only get better and better, will return and wipe it afresh with developed dominance, just like it should have been all those years ago.
One way of banishing the memories of letting Pogba leave on a free would be to see him return, and, to the excitement of rejuvenated United fans, that is now a welcomed reality.