While Juve continues to make star signings and acquire the game’s starlets, it seems as though Maurizio Sarri’s squad still needs one more colossal purchase in the midfield area. Securing Adrien Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey on free transfers seem to be savvy signings on paper, but is it enough for the Bianconeri to go all the way in Europe?
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has been on the Juve radar for the last couple of transfer windows, but the midfielder that nearly every Juventino craves is Paul Pogba.
The Manchester United star has not had the best of times in the Premier League ever since he moved to England back in 2016. The fans of the Red Devils have only seen glimpses of Pogba’s footballing qualities – consistency being the element the 26-year-old has lacked.
Pogba’s club career has so far been a tale of two sides. So what could’ve transpired if the World Cup winner hadn’t left Juventus for England’s top flight three seasons ago?
First of all, we’re betting Pogba’s career would have continued to accelerate while wearing the Bianconeri stripes. The 2013 Golden Boy award winner learnt from some of the very best midfielders in modern-day football. Several of the playmaking skills were taught by Andrea Pirlo – one of the most elegant midfielders to have ever graced the Calcio scene. Playing alongside Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio also helped the French international finesse skills and learn how to utilise his strength to fend off opponents.
Pogba took his game to the next level when Massimiliano Allegri became the new Juve boss in 2014. The attacking midfielder was pivotal in the Old Lady’s run to the Champions League Final in the 2014-15 season, especially in the two semi-final legs against Real Madrid. Juve may have fallen short against Barcelona in Berlin, but Pogba’s presence in midfield was likely propelling the Bianconeri to future domestic and continental success.
When Paulo Dybala left Palermo for Juventus ahead of the 2015-16 Serie A season, Pogba played a crucial role in bringing the best out of the dazzling Argentinian. The talented youngsters became a lethal duo in the Juve attack – collecting a combined 21 assists.
Pogba’s playmaking skills also helped Dybala flourish up front, with the latter scoring 19 goals and finishing second in the goalscoring charts. If Pogba hadn’t left the 35-time Scudetto winners, then Dybala would have performed more consistently over these last three seasons. The pair complemented each other on the football pitch – entertaining numerous Juventini through their charismatic style of play.
The 2017 Champions League Final in Cardiff could have potentially had a different outcome and winner if Pogba stayed on with the Turin side. After Juve were decimated 4-1 by Real Madrid, it was evident that a midfield of Sami Khedira and Miralem Pjanic wasn’t going to outperform Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro.
By selling Pogba, the Juventus midfield took a gigantic step back in terms of attacking quality. Pjanic may be an intelligent playmaker, however, Juve could have used Pogba’s strength, vision, dribbling and shooting technique in Cardiff to end their frustrating European drought.
Selling Pogba for over €100m back in 2016 might’ve seemed like incredible business at the time, considering he was purchased from Manchester United as a free agent, but in hindsight wasn’t such a bright idea. The Turin giants have since failed to replace Pogba with a midfielder of his calibre – consequently punishing the Scudetto holders in recent Champions League campaigns.
Even more importantly, it was a huge error for Pogba. He returned to the club that let him leave as a free agent, breaking transfer records and becoming a media lightning rod. The pressure was immense, he clashed repeatedly with Jose Mourinho and was pilloried in the papers for not living up to the over-the-top hype.
If Pogba had stayed with the club that believed in him rather than stormed off to earn more at a side that was never entirely convinced, it could’ve been a very different career path for the Frenchman.