Although the sporting action has taken a halt, the rumour mills do not seem to stop, and those mills have been busy linking Paul Pogba with a move away from Manchester United. They have even taken it a step further by finding a replacement for Pogba, in the form of Jack Grealish or James Maddison.
Despite all that, Mirror is now reporting that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has turned the tables by convincing the French midfielder to stay at Old Trafford for at least one more season, till the completion of the European Championship, which has got delayed due to unforeseen circumstances.
Apparently, the recent development is going to have a significant impact on the future course of action of the club, and now the gaffer has to plan his scheme of things with Pogba in his mind, which had seemed impossible until a few days ago. Ed Woodward must rethink his transfer strategies, now that the imminent need to find a replacement for Pogba has ended.
When you pay £89.3 million for someone, thereby breaking the records, you need that person to be firing on all cylinders right from the beginning. That has been the main problem with Paul Pogba in his second spell as a United player. Probably the weight of expectations has taken a toll on his performance, and he has failed to live up to the hype throughout his four years.
He has been criticised by the fans and the pundits alike and his discipline has been a problem throughout. For a player who had been named in the 2015 UEFA Team of the Year while playing for Juventus, he looked like a pale shadow of his former self and could never master a particular position in the midfield in his new club.
With Paul Pogba, it is not only his on-field discipline that has been a problem but also his theatrics with Jose Mourinho is well documented. During the later stages of Mourinho’s managerial stint, many had thought that a change at the helm of the club would give Pogba a boost. Frankly, with a resurgence of form of Pogba under Ole, it seemed that the fans were not wrong.
Unfortunately for them, the same did not last long, and Pogba was very much back to his old self. Finally United went into the market to find a marquee midfielder in the form of Bruno Fernandes in the January transfer window, certainly making him the epicentre of the team.
This is where the real test of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would lie. Paul Pogba was introduced into this team with the promise of building the team around him. Still, the current stats say that Pogba has played 521 minutes this season without scoring even once, while Fernandes has already scored twice in 5 matches and has been the primary creative force of the team.
Under these circumstances, it is now up to the manager to lead the situation delicately and make his two marquee players form a lethal partnership in the midfield, rather than come into each other’s way and pose another kind of problem for the club.