Micah Richards and Alan Shearer have assessed why it hasn’t worked out for Paul Pogba at Manchester United, and compared his indifferent spell to that of one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s most high profile flops.
Pogba returned to Old Trafford to great fanfare in 2016.His £89.3m transfer fee broke the club’s record, and the Frenchman was expected to blossom into one of world football’s most elite midfielders at Old Trafford.
Things never quite panned out that way, and five years on, Pogba appears destined to leave in the coming windows.
Pogba has showed flashes of his mercurial talents for United. However, attaining a level of consistency that the truly elite possess has eluded him.
His situation resembles that of another midfielder who arrived for big money during the Ferguson era.
Juan Sebastian Veron signed from Lazio for £28m in 2001. United boasted a central midfield of Paul Scholes, Roy Keane and Nicky Butt at the time. The show of faith from Ferguson at the time believing he could break into that midfield showcased just how highly the Argentine was regarded.
But like Pogba, Veron only performed in spurts, and former England stars Shearer and Richards have drawn a comparison between the two.
“I just remember him [Veron] being a flash in the pan,” Richards told the Match of the Day Top 10 podcast (via the Sun). “Before he came to Man United you expected big things.
“He’s like Pogba, Pogba’s stayed longer but when you watch Pogba, you want him to do something brilliant every time and the same with Veron as well you wanted him to score a 40-yard goal or [make a] 60-yard pass.
“It was just a little bit fast for him. He wanted to slow down the tempo a little bit. This is what I don’t understand, people always ask me, why did it not always happen?
“You’ve got that ability, he worked hard, it’s consistency. His ability was off the scale, wasn’t it, it’s one thing I’ve wondered. By all accounts, he worked really hard, was a good lad, it just didn’t work out.”
Shearer concurred with Richards’ assessment, adding: “I definitely agree with the Pogba comparison.
“I think everyone looked at Veron and thought ‘wow, what a player,’ £28m which was a lot of money then and everyone was expecting that of him every week. Ability-wise it was in there.”
Roma director speaks on Man Utd move
Meanwhile, Tiago Pinto has suggested Roma will strive to find the “right solutions” when directly asked about their pursuit of Manchester United full-back Diogo Dalot.
Roma have been linked with bringing the Portuguese right-back to Serie A. The possibility of a loan deal with a €1.5m fee attached was touted. That would then lead to a summer option worth €15m, according to Italian publication Corriere dello Sport.
However, Gazzetta Dello Sport then suggested the structure of the deal was a sticking point. Roma are understood to prefer an option to buy. United, according to the Italian newspaper, would like an obligation to buy. Furthermore Roma aren’t enthusiastic about the €15m final figure either.
Now, Roma director Tiago Pinto has had his say on their pursuit of Dalot. When asked specifically about rumours linking them to both Dalot and Denis Zakaria, Pinto attempted to keep his cards close to his chest, though hinted they will work to find a breakthrough nonetheless.
“I don’t like talking about players from other clubs. I don’t like talking publicly about transfer strategies,” Pinto told Sky Italia (via Sport Witness). On the market, we cannot create great expectations for January because we all know what the January market is like. “
“But we’re convinced that all together, ownership, scouting, Mourinho, Tiago Pinto, as we did in the summer, we will find the right solutions to maintain the sustainable approach we talked about. But at the same time improve the squad as well as the starters, Mourinho and me we want.”