In August, Paul Pogba became the most expensive player in football history when Manchester United paid nearly £90 million to bring him back to the club after four years at Juventus. He was seen as the final piece of Jose Mourinho’s puzzle, but after a difficult start to his time at Old Trafford, it seems like the Special One may need to find another way to fit the midfielder into his team.
In the Manchester derby, Pogba had very little effect on the game, and was outplayed by City midfielders Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva in the middle of the park. The Frenchman was regularly caught out of position and failed to make an impact going forward. It was a familiar story for the 23-year-old, who has looked far from his best in the opening stages of the season.
It seems that one of the main problems for Pogba is the position he is being played in by Mourinho. The midfielder normally has the greatest influence on the game when he is playing in the number ten role behind the main striker, but he is playing in a deeper role at Old Trafford, a position that doesn’t suit his best attributes.
Part of the problem is that Pogba himself doesn’t know what his best position is. Over the last few years at club and international level, he has played a number of different roles, including as a defensive midfielder and as an attacking midfielder. He is best with the ball at his feet, and the further forward United can get him, the better he will be.
This may mean that United have to sacrifice captain Wayne Rooney, who has come under pressure after his below-par performances for the Red Devils and England in recent weeks. The 30-year-old is undoubtedly no longer the player he once was, and it may be in the interest of United to prioritise the future of Pogba, who could become one of the top midfielders in the world.
It is clear for all to see that Pogba has the talent to be a great midfielder, but it is also clear that Manchester United must make changes to get the best out of the Frenchman.