Saturday December 12 2020
Can Pogba return to Serie A?

Mino Raiola said Paul Pogba’s time at Manchester United is over and Kaustubh Pandey believes there are a few swap deals that could allow the French midfielder to return to Serie A.

Mino Raiola’s constant acts of coming out to discuss Paul Pogba’s future in a rather public manner have almost become a bi-monthly magazine. It happens just about every two months and it becomes a huge soap opera involving Manchester United, when the club can ill-afford any off-field drama anymore.

As much as this bi-monthly drama has entertained many over the years, it finally seems to be coming to an end considering Raiola’s recent words about the Frenchman’s fractured relationship with Man Utd.

Inevitably so, Raiola mentioned Juventus’ name and it is hardly a surprise as it was been made clear by Fabrizio Romano that Pogba would’ve been a Juventus player if not for the pandemic.

There is a clear admiration from both parties and Juve enjoy good relations with Raiola too, something which is not happening at Manchester United.

When Raiola helped Juve signing Matthijs de Ligt in 2019, Old Lady fans were chanting his name upon his arrival at the J Medical with his teenage client. On the other hand, not a day goes by without Man Utd supporters abusing the agent on social media. Perhaps, that defines the club’s relations with Pogba too. United have a lot-hate relation with the Frenchman, who is still adored and admired by many in Turin.

Andrea Pirlo was a guide for Pogba when they shared the Juventus dressing room under Antonio Conte and Max Allegri. The same is true of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci. Pavel Nedved had Raiola as his agent during his playing career. Having said that, the adulation of Juventus fans for Pogba can’t be the only reason why he could return to the club.

Pogba has struggled to find his identity at United. Doubts have crept about what his real position is. Jose Mourinho tried his best to unchain him by having hardworking midfielders behind him. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tried him as a deep-lying midfielder behind Bruno Fernandes and while it worked well for a while, the consistency has been sorely lacking.

Under Pirlo, Juve have been deploying a rather dynamic 4-4-2 shape that turns into a 3-4-1-2 when the Bianconeri set up their attacking actions. Their main issues so far in the campaign lie in not having a concrete structure in midfield, because of which it has been easy to overrun the Old Lady’s midfield especially in the absence of Weston McKennie who, however, doesn’t have the quality of the 2018 France World Cup winner.

One of Pogba’s basic demands to succeed is usually the need of a proper defensive midfielder close to him. While at Juventus, Pogba plied his trade in a compact system which had Arturo Vidal and Pirlo or Claudio Marchisio around him. While the current Juventus side may be showing signs of replicating those players with Rodrigo Bentancur, McKennie and Arthur, the demands of this system are much different.

Aaron Ramsey’s role of a dynamic third-man in midfield isn’t something which suits Pogba because the Welshman is more mobile and covers more distance on the pitch. That makes Pogba’s suitability to Juve a dilemma unless Pirlo adds a new aspect to fit the Frenchman into the side.

But how many chances do Juventus have to re-sign the Frenchman? Reports in Italy suggest they will try it in January, but negotiations won’t be easy.

There are also constant talk of Paulo Dybala swapping Juve with United once again, as the Athletic recently reported. La Joya has cut a rather frustrated figure this season, with contract talks not progressing as much as he’d want. There have been question marks about his attitude, fitness and approach on the pitch, leaving many Juve fans angry. There is certainly background to the links with Man Utd, who came close to signing La Joya in 2019 when the swap deal with Romelu Lukaku collapsed.

As much as Dybala can play as the number ten, United now have two options for that role in Bruno Fernandes and Donny van de Beek. However, he can play in a front two like he has beside Cristiano Ronaldo this season.

Another potential swap deal that could see Pogba return to Serie A is with Christian Eriksen. Inter are the only other realistic option in Italy and Pogba has been linked with a move to the Nerrazzurri in the past. Inter’s most obvious option for moving on would be Christian Eriksen but as mentioned before, the number ten slot is already full at Old Trafford. Other Inter players that have been touted to be moved on happen to be Milan Skriniar and Marcelo Brozovic who had been linked with the Red Devils in the past. Those are two players that could suit United, considering their search for a ball-playing central defender and a potential replacement for Nemanja Matic.

It remains to be seen if Conte would be willing to sacrifice Skriniar or Brozovic (without whom Inter have lacked balance in deeper midfield this season) for a former favourite of his. The Italian coach has shown a preference for his former players and Man Utd now have excellent relations with Inter. Last, bot not least, Beppe Marotta brought him to Turin in 2012 and is another one with a great relationship with the French star.

So, there are clearly a lot of loose ends in this saga yet to be tied. Surely, Pogba is not happy anymore at Old Trafford and he has plenty of admirers in Italy. Juventus on one side, Conte and Marotta on the other. This doesn’t mean Pogba will surely end up playing in Italy again but the Bel Paese is surely attracting the 27-years-old. Add to that Mino Raiola hasn’t got quite a good relationship within other European top clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona and a return to Italy appears a realistic option for Pogba. How it can happen it’s down to the clubs and the player’s agent.

Have your say...
Pogba was only good because of the other midfielders around him when he was at Juve. Now that he is surrounded by crappy Man U players we can see how average and inconsistent he really is.

@ Viktor
Are you related to Antonio Conte? It seems you cannot take any advice from people that know grammar. Instead of getting defensive you should learn a bit from people that know how to write in English. Stop being so pathetic.
on the 16th December, 2020 at 5:52am
Fantastic player in Serie A, barely passable in the Premier League. I think at this point he needs to have a year where he forgets about the aesthetic and just puts in the grit and determination we used to see. I can't see any other team in Serie A taking such a high profile gamble than Juventus.
on the 15th December, 2020 at 11:52am
And what is he going to do? Light up Serie A now. I doubt it. Pogba's train has left and he took one that went the wrong way and floundered for too long. Other new, up and coming talents replace you if you stay at the wrong place for too long and that's exactly what happened to Pogba. Congratulations on choosing Raiola as your agent. His greed for money actually ruined your career in the long run.
on the 14th December, 2020 at 3:29pm
For the right price you have to keep the option open. I would not break the bank, but if Utd is willing to take some of our busts, why not? Pogba not having to be the man on a team with CR7 maybe the cure for him.
on the 14th December, 2020 at 2:01pm
@ITA 1

I meant exactly what I wrote, and it's perfectly OK/okay English.

When I type its it doesn't add the ´mark, not sure why. As in "IT IS". Good observation. I agree that previous sentence is not structured in a correct way.


curious about this one. how was my sentence an interrogative? My statement wasn't a questions. Yes it should be it's and not its.
on the 14th December, 2020 at 10:58am
@ Viktor

I am focusing on football. My question to you is in relation to an article on football.

Your reply doesn't particularly clear the issue up, as your original comment isn't grammatically correct.

"The interest of this" is wrong.

The fact your reply isn't correct either would suggest you don't understand your mistakes.

Let me show you: "I meant exactly what I wrote, and it's perfectly OK/okay English.

Let's focus on football, shall we?"

Do you see the 6 corrections I made for you?
on the 14th December, 2020 at 9:36am
‘It’s’ not ‘its’
And an interrogative requires a question mark. Just saying.
on the 14th December, 2020 at 8:45am
The simple answer is, for the right price, yes absolutely.
For many various reasons his financial value has fallen and that would need to be reflected in any future trade.

Clearly the best fit for Pogba is in Turin where Pirlo's tactics are most suited to a player of his talents.

Pogba is a fantastic player but is wasting his talent and career
on the 14th December, 2020 at 8:17am
@ITA 1

I meant exactly what I wrote and its perfectly ok English.

Lets focus on football shall we.
on the 14th December, 2020 at 7:39am
@ Viktor

Do you mean "the interest OF this topic" or "the interest IN this topic"?

Because they mean two completely different things.
on the 13th December, 2020 at 9:14pm
No! Juventus should buy Aouar and that's it. He's getting too old, and is only good in every second game. Too many touches on the ball.
on the 13th December, 2020 at 7:12pm
The interest of this topic is overwhelming
on the 13th December, 2020 at 6:24pm
He's turned into a waster

At Juve, he was once a fine (not brilliant) box-to-box midfielder who was surrounded by serious pros who seemed to keep him steady and working hard with a good attitude

Almost immediately upon joining United (a mess of a club, in fairness), his attitude dropped like a stone

The way you tell a great player is when they perform when their club is down and struggling ... not when things are rosy

Pogba just doesn't care, and Serie A doesn't need yet another epl cast-off
on the 13th December, 2020 at 9:36am
on the 13th December, 2020 at 9:17am
juve are a joke if they take him back. the fool left when he had it made...and his current form and past seasons at Man U are nearly below average. they play better without him.
another case of peaking to early, getting way too rich too fast,spoiled,entitled, and now a want away player who clashes with coaches. let some other club in Spain,France,Germany waste money on him.

and he would only hurt Inter more than help.
on the 13th December, 2020 at 1:15am
He is not playing well and nobody should care. Juve would be better getting Locatelli, Inter getting Sensi back and Milan would do well continuing with youth. He should go to France and play in mid table club
on the 13th December, 2020 at 1:04am

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