Why Pogba is one of the worst buys in Man Utd history

Date published: Tuesday 10th November 2020 2:35

Paul Pogba Man Utd

Get your mails in to theeditor@football365.com.


We need to talk about Pogba

As a United fan, I’m really sick and tired of Pogba and his sense of entitlement. It’s been 4 years that we have waited for him to show his true potential, but the wait still goes on. For every game that he does give an admittedly decent or superb performance, there will be 4 to 5 games where he is absolutely dross. He is lazy on the pitch, refuses to track back, and we have all lost track of the number of basic blunders he has made leading directly to goals and even penalties.

Pogba is now 27 years of age, the age where most athletes tend to peak. If this is peak Pogba, then suffice to say this was one of the worst buys United has been involved in. Perhaps worse than even Di Maria. At least we did manage to recoup a major portion of what we paid for Di Maria? But Pogba? Would any club in their right mind pay even half of what we paid for him? Or perhaps he will just walk away on a free transfer at the end of his contract.

There is an argument to be made that United failed him. That he was not provided with the right managers or players around him. Sure, but these are all arguments that can be made for young players bought in their teens for their potential. For 89 million, you better bring your A game every single time. For United has invested in him. Not just the purchase price but the astronomical wages he is being paid that are worth a lot more than what he is offering in return. A simple comparison with Bruno Fernandes goes to show what he should be delivering vs what he is delivering.

Worse still is the sense of entitlement. A club that paid a world record fee to secure your services deserves at least some level of loyalty. Instead, from day one, Pogba and his agent have flirted with other clubs, giving the impression that he is just here for the stopover and not in for the long haul. And this entitlement has, for some reason, been enabled by ex players and managers alike. The latest of which to add their thoughts on the subject was Neville and Deschamps.

Now I can understand Neville just trying to be relevant by making outlandish statements which he knows will draw a reaction from the vast number of United supporters. But Deschamps’ comments were highly irresponsible and devoid of reality. Deschamps claims Pogba ‘s poor form is a result of not being played in his right position. But what is his right position? Multiple United managers have experimented with him in different positions and he has never made any of them his own. If the argument is that he must be played in a more attacking role, then let’s not forget that Deschamps himself has used him primarily as one of the more defensive midfielders in a 4-2-3-1 position including in the 2018 world cup. A classic case of “Do as I say not as I do”.

Pogba fans then fall back to the run of the mill argument that he is a World Cup winner so must be a good player. Well… so was Mario Gotze. Forgive those of us who actually watched the world cup. The France team that won the world cup was one that was loaded with stars and on paper was stronger than any of their opponents. With or without Pogba, they would have won the World Cup. While Pogba was decent in the matches he played, none of them would be classified as spectacular or outstanding. Indeed, he did not win a single Man of the Match performance in the tournament.

Come to think of it. Deschamps is right that Pogba is not being played in the right position and the recent run of matches do show that Ole may finally be discovering the correct position for Pogba in his lineup. On the bench.


so the international break has arrived and win against everton means somehow OGS will not get the boot for a little while at least.which means us manutd fans have nothing really to talk about for 2 weeks.so while surfing various football websites i came across the article where didier deschamps said pogba can not be happy about his playing time and positioning at manutd.i mean really!!!other than that one purple patch before OGS was made permanent(even then he managed to get sent off needlessly in the first leg vs psg and make things hard for the team) when has he really played well consistently for manutd?but that got me thinking.since Deschamps knows so well how to get the best out of pogba,does pogba really play that well for the national team?everyone said after the WC that pogba had a great world cup and deschamps found the best position and tactics for him.so i decided to dig a little in his world cup stats:

matches 6
goals 1
assists 1
total shots 6
shots on target 2
total no of passes in the tourney 308
pass completion 80.2%
forward passes 40.9%
sideways passes 49.7%
key passes 9
clarences 12
blocks 1
tackles success 84%
duels won 54.7%

are these really stats of someone who had a great world cup or are they just average??
there were no real game changing performances as far as i remember. he was not a major threat in attack.no great defensive contributions either.in fact according to my little football knowledge he just recycled the ball.and this is when he had the likes of mbappe,griezmann in front of him and kante,varane behind him for protection.he was solid but unspectacular.
the thing that worked for him in WC was that he did not do any mistake costing the team a goal and he managed to score a goal in the finals when the game was already a foregone conclusion which gave a huge boost to his hype as a player. i feel if fred or mctominay or any other workhorse midfielders played in pogba’s position in the french team they would have had better stats than the ones listed above.
i would love to know what everyone thinks about this.cheers and happy diwali to everyone!!
p.s. all the people who feel de bruyne is overrated what do you think of pogba??


Ole the ‘big team’ boss

I’ve usually enjoyed reading mails Minty, LFC for their sensible viewpoints and logical arguments. Until now, that is. It seems sensible Liverpool fans are on the verge of extinction.

I hope you realize that most United fans don’t think Ole is a tactical genius or anything of the sort. Surely you could have judged for yourself how ludicrous that sounds and have concluded that this was not the viewpoint of most sane, sensible fans. Also, by the way, there was nothing wrong with our tactics in the PSG, or the Leipzig games. Neither was there anything wrong with Ole’s tactics when we beat Man City twice last year in the PL in case you forgot (incidentally, a team which spanked Liverpool 4-0). Or in any of the number of victories Man United have had against ‘big’ teams since Ole has taken charge. Obviously that doesn’t make him a tactical genius, but it also does not make him a complete novice as the Mailbox usually suggests.

There was a comment around spending, which I completely agree that there has been a lot of, but it was all done last year. This summer, Lampard got every one of his 427 priority targets, and even Arteta was given his priority signing of Partey. What exactly did Man Utd get again? The simple fact is if you don’t invest in the PL, while all of your rivals do, you in fact go back in time (despite what you invested ‘last year’). This United team is still in effect the same from last year. There have been no additions, no new ways for United to win games have been added. Any competent manager would have eventually figured out how to nullify any other teams threats given enough time, which is why you need to consistently improve the team, especially if you plan to eventually compete for the PL.

Also, I hope you realize just like Arteta, Ole also inherited a team that was in fact 6th in the league at the time. Now, I’ll give you the FA Cup win. a fairly just point, the only sensible one in this mail. But, at the same time, surely I cannot be the only one surprised at the idea that a manager who played under Wenger and who shadowed Guardiola as assistant should deploy tactics that are so ‘Mourinho’. I mean sure, defensive solidity is important, but are Arsenal satisfied with this ‘direction’ Arteta has decided upon which includes a near total departure from any discernable attacking intent?

To me, very simply I really don’t believe Lampard, Ole, or Arteta are doing poorly. Let me clarify. Chelsea are playing very well at the moment, and by all accounts Lampard is doing very well, which I agree. But this is what you would expect given the investment this year. Arteta has done well to turn Arsenal into a hard team to beat and deserves credit for this, and the cup win, but at what point will Arteta start getting criticisms for his playing style (Which was partly the point of the original mail the Minty was responding to)? In Ole’s case, let me say first of all, most of the criticism is justified. The fact that we can beat Leipzig 5-0 and look a completely different side against Arsenal is, frankly inexcusable. The board needs to do better, so too does Ole, and more importantly the players have to do better. But, United were crying out for additions at some key positions (RW, CB, DM, CF, and LB), most of which were unfulfilled. That doesn’t excuse the poor performances, but if we had better players, the performances would have been better/more consistent. But, we did beat Leipzig and PSG and Newcastle and the high-flying Everton. The key issue for Ole since March 2019 has been consistency, and that will remain until we have a better squad.
MM, Man Utd, India



“Cos he’s won silverware already?”Less than Solskjaer though.

“Cos he’s found ways to beat Chelsea, City, ‘pool, MU, Leicester, and Wolves in many cup, and the odd league game?”
Solskjaer has had a handful of good results too, but still finds himself below all of those clubs in the league. Just like Arteta.

“Cos there’s a clear plan to try not to concede first”
Visionary shit. I presume the rest of the footballing world will, when they recover from their stunned silences, also adopt this revolutionary tactic. A new footballing future awaits us all. No more will teams actively set out to concede the first goal. Arteta has shown us all a new direction.

Just a quick aside, but the word is ‘because’ Paul. This isn’t a text message.

“Was decisive with Ozil”
By decisive, you mean ‘didn’t really change anything with”, right? With a splash of “alienated his most creative player while overseeing a team absolutely bereft of creativity”.

“Beat a big-six team away for the first time in forever”
Jesus, that’s bleak. Sorry, autocorrect. I meant fucking hilarious.

“Arsenal have a clear identity – shifting from the conceding goals in bunches to being difficult to break down”
Probably not the time to make that claim, having just been shit on by villa. BY VILLA. Oh but hang on…

“Only other thing i’d say is Villa are pretty f*cking good at football…and have a first 11 the envy of many (most?) in the League.”
Yes, of course. Basically the magnificent Magyars, Ajax 95, and 90s Milan in Brummie form. There was me thinking most people couldn’t name half of their team.

To be clear, I am not defending Solskjaer. It is quite clear that he is utterly hopeless. I’m very much enjoying watching these two fight it out and claim their manager is actually a capable individual, when everyone can clearly see two delightfully inept chaps fumbling along. Christ, with the way they are acting over these incompetents, can you imagine the tidal wave of over-estimation that they would greet Tim Sherwood with? I’m genuinely surprised that the goons haven’t started pushing the polyglot angle more, because nothing says my manager is better than yours than putting your Duolingo certificates on the table.


I honestly think “has a clear style” is one of the funniest things I read on the internet.

1. If you wanna talk about clear style please use descriptions other than “press hard, don’t concede, attack with pace” or or “Cos there’s a clear plan to try not to concede first ” i mean honestly bruv, no fucking shit.

2. If you’ve never watched more than a couple highlights, but have listened to some lads on the ‘Tube and read some snide reporter talking about “he has no clear style” and then you decide to use that as a stick to beat that other manager/team… I don’t know if its just me but you come off as a tool.

This isn’t FUT, this isn’t FM, this isn’t MyClub, you are not tactical geniuses exactly because you can’t see what teams are trying to do and shoehorning in “my manager has the team playing with more style” or a “clear philosophy” really, really makes you look foolish.
N.V.M. (Roberto Martinez/LvG/and ‘Arry Redknapp have also won the FA cup, woooooptidoooo)


Where does KDB rate in all-time PL midfielders?

In response to the ‘legitimate point’ about Kevin De Bruyne, by which I assume Jaime means this: “You cannot point to any huge game facing City where he took the game by the scruff of the neck and lead the team to greatness.”

Cast your mind all the way back to Real Madrid 1 Man city 2, CL 26 Feb 2020. Man City came from behind to win with KDB assisting the equaliser and scoring an 83rd minute penalty in a Man of the Match performance.

I assume there will be some reason why this wasn’t a ‘huge’ game, or KDB didn’t ‘lead the team’ because he doesn’t shout much, or some other nonsense…

A more interesting discussion is where KDB sits in terms of the best all-time PL midfielders (I’ll leave it for others to make the case for Wijnaldum). I recently drew outrage from some of my City supporting mates when I ranked KDB over David Silva. Silva was great obviously and I think did more to control games, but KDB does more to decide games. The rest of my top 5 would be Fabregas, Scholes, and (another City legend) Lampard.
Bristol Blue


Jamie, there you are again with the Gini argument. He played well against Barca in one of a two leg game and that means he character and spirit that KDB hasn’t. The first game is dismissed because Messi played well. And that means Gini’s spirit suddenly evaporates? And yet when KDB gets MOTM against Liverpool the last time they played it’s just dismissed because Liverpool were apparently drunk. You might not fancy KDB as a player and think he gets too much good press but please don’t selectively choose one game of Gini’s to say he has what KDB hasn’t, whilst totally ignoring all the games in which Gini has been as average as you say KDB is.


F365 bias

Firstly I really love taking things people say to their ansurd conclusion.

Jamie Eire, talks about players walking into any side and then proceeds to list about 20 players. I did chuckle to myslef as I imagined them all turning at the same club at the same time all expecting a game and then a manager of limited abilities totally flumoxed trying to let them all walk into the same side. It gets even funnier when you include all the greats from before 1992 (when football officially started)

Secondly and lastly the absurd reaction of people to the winners a losers column. As football websites go I think F365 is pretty even handed in it’s coverage. I certainly do not agree with all the opinions expressed but that is also part of the reason why I have been coming here for 20+ years. That is the point really, all of the non list365 articles are mostly opinion pieces and when any journalist expresses an a opinion there will always be people who agree and people who don’t. Just because an internet journalist didn’t include your club in a list of winners and losers really isn’t an indication of bias. It probably has more to do with a deadline or word count. Winners and losers could just be a list of results but what would be the point of that. I value it mainly for the sections which aren’t about Chelsea as it can often lead me to things which I may have missed in the weekends coverage.

If you want to see real bias just go an look at Lawro’s predictions.
Simon, Woking


I was just wondering if F365 could just post a list of the teams they are biased against. I assume you decided this in a meeting in your underground lair? That would the rest of us can avoid the mindless mailbox submissions which accuse the staff of hating Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool, Spurs, Everton…..
NorthernSoul (NUFC)


Mark Smith and Matt Stead know all about disappointments. Join them to discover that Chelsea are the only Big Six club without representation on this week’s top ten.

More Related Articles