TALENT SCOUT: Paul Pogba (France)
The void left by the retirements of pairing Patrick Vieira and then Claude Makelele must have undoubtedly left some French fans scratching their heads wondering where they were going to find a good enough replacement from. And that’s not because the previous batch of young French Central midfielders weren’t good enough, more that these two individuals alone had proven to be the heart and life of the French national team. Consistent, reliable, world-class, would there be anybody else in the pipeline who could quite match up to their high-standards?
Meet Paul Pogba. A man who really does look like the next best thing in French football. After progressing through the youth ranks at Manchester United, Pogba famously left the club at the end of 11/12 season following a rift behind the scenes with United officials. Although many put it down to money in his refusal to sign a new contract, Pogba has publicly gone on record as saying that Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to choose right sided defender Rafael over Pogba, for a substitution to come on and play in the centre of midfield, was the final straw for him. False assurances by SAF ultimately led to his departure and after only a hatful of performances for United, the talented central midfielder confirmed he had left the club.
In the war of words that followed that summer it seemed clear from the off that Pogba was very much a wanted man and found himself on the radar of Europe’s elite. And it was then beginning to look like a case of ‘the one that got away’ for Manchester United as Juventus acted quickly to snap the promising midfielder up and handed him the number 6 shirt – very much a firm signal of intent that Pogba wasn’t there to warm the bench for the Italian giants. And with that trust and faith put in him by Juventus, in the long term they really have reaped the rewards. Named in the press recently as one of the most highly sought after young stars in world football, Pogba’s glittering performances alongside the likes of Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio at Juventus have really got everybody talking. One who’s not afraid to take a stab at a long range effort, his accuracy from far out has become a trade-mark of his game whilst both his club side Juventus and of course France can rely heavily on his now mature mindset and the commanding attitude that comes with it.
His performances have certainly not gone unnoticed with the likes of Chelsea, PSG and Manchester City monitoring his situation at Juventus very closely, the latter in particular as a replacement for Yaya Toure (who Pogba is very similar to) should he leave this summer. All three clubs will certainly be looking out for how the 21 year-old Frenchman performs on the worlds biggest stage and his performances in the World Cup may easily add further millions to his already inflated value. Maybe he really is the one that got away…