The age of 29 is often considered a football player’s peak. The majority of the world-known footballers were in their best shape, close to 30 and rarely surprised with their impact (except for goalkeepers, whose peak can be later). When we are talking about Paul Pogba, most remember his great performances in the last decade. At the same time, we still expect that he will defeat his laziness and other psychological problems and will finally show his best during a season or even a few ones. However, it’s almost impossible to predict how his career will go in the near future, especially if we don’t know which club he will join in the summer.
Having Guinean roots, Paul was born in France in one of the Paris communes in 1993, in the middle of March – 15. His parents left Guinea just years before the birth of Pogba, while both of his older brothers appeared to the world in the African country. Moreover, both Mathias and Florentin are professional footballers and play for their home country. The surname Pogba is common for all three, and they all have plenty of similar facial features, so one can easily confuse who is who.
Having older brothers that were playing football (and now are both in the French teams), Paul had not so many chances to go another way. So, he joined Roissy-en-Brie academy being only six, where he studied until 2006. He took a step further and joined Torcy for a season and went higher – to Le Havre in 2007. In 2009, the scouts of Manchester United persuaded the Frenchman to join their club, where he spent three years and even played three matches in the main squad. As the contracts of youngsters are usually short-termed, Juventus didn’t pay a penny for Pogba in 2012 when the guy sought more time in the main squad, while Ferguson could not give a preference for a prospective midfielder.
That was a brilliant move for Paul and his career development. The Old Lady wasn’t super strong that year, so the talented guy received his place in the squad along with two experienced Italian players – Marchisio and Pirlo. The Frenchman also received plenty of freedom on the pitch, which allowed him to show all his talent in the midfield, where he was scoring, assisting, and tackling a lot. During a four-year period in Juventus, the player with the height of 1.91 appeared 124 times on the pitch in Serie A only and scored 29 goals. He was also great during the Champions League campaign in the season 2014-2015, when the Old Lady reached the final, while La Pioche (Pickaxe in English) was even named in the symbolic squad of the competition.
Such a success story attracted … Manchester United, who was looking for a prospective box-to-box midfielder. However, they had to break a transfer record in 2016 to return him back – 105 million euros. The same year, Jose Mourinho became the new coach of the team, which looked like a promising combination. And in terms of trophies, it looked pretty good for the Reds: they won the English Super Cup right in 2016, League Cup in 2017, and even an international title the same year – Europa League. However, that was the only period when a Frenchman achieved valuable peaks in Manchester. As Pogba later explained in interviews, he still feels the passion for winning trophies, so his next team will be more ambitious than recent United. Ironically, Paul also said that he got depressed with Mourinho’s arrival at Old Trafford, but that was the only period when he showed his class while the team won a couple of trophies.
In parallel to Pogba’s second period in Manchester, his game for the national team of France always looked good. He never struggled for the Blues, while he was a key person in the midfield in the team’s reaching a final at Euro 2016 and winning a World Cup two years later. It always led to discussions about the talent and work rate of Paul on the pitch, as in Manchester United, he looked way worse than in games for France. Although Pogba has scored only 11 goals for his national team in 91 games since his debut in 2013, he is still one of the key figures on the pitch in the blue jersey. In the Red Devils’ squad, he scored 29 goals in 154 games but was much more often criticised than praised.
Of course, one of the key elements in the discussions is still his transfer fee and huge salary – 19 million dollars annually. Dozens of players play better in the EPL but have lower earnings, while financial aspects also matter in modern football. Still, media popularity and his contract make him one of the best-earning footballers, with an estimated net worth of $125 million.
What relates to the playstyle of Pogba, he is really the one to likely discuss in the football circles. With a height of 1.91, he has great physical opportunities to dominate at the pitch. Paul is a very skilful and technical player with great ball control, which allows him to feel calm under any pressure in the midfield. His both legs are great in passing and shooting, even outside of the box. On his best day, Pogba can dominate in the midfield solely as he can be great in both tackling and playmaking. However, Paul often lacks passion, which negatively affects his work rate and the number of positive actions on the pitch. He can give four great assists in a single EPL game (the opening game of the recent season) but then looks tired and depressing in a few games in a row. Even in such a situation, the Frenchman remains one of the most skilful midfielders of the last decade and waits for the perfect coaching staff that will help him to show all his talent and class.