For the last three summers, each time with a bigger price tag attached, Paul Pogba has been linked to a move away from Juventus. The two teams most often mentioned are Manchester United and Real Madrid. So far, the French midfielder has stayed put, but how long will Juventus hold on to him?
Pogba, 23, has just completed a so-so Euro 2016 tournament with France, scoring one goal in the quarter final against Iceland, and not displaying his ability with his club. For Juventus, despite his age and the packed midfield, Pogba has been fantastic, twice being included in the Serie A team of the year (2014, 2015) and finishing as the top assist provider in Italy last season with 12, in what started as a bad campaign for him and the club, turning into a great one.
This summer, with Jose Mourinho at the helm in Old Trafford, the rumors suggest United, who have let Pogba leave them once because he was unhappy with the few opportunities he was getting in the first team. Pogba was with the Red Devils from 2009 (he was 16 at the time) and joined Juventus in 2012, immediately becoming a key figure in their rise back to the top of Italian football, and finding themselves among the best in Europe once more.
It seems that at least this season, Real Madrid are out of the picture. One of the more impressive things about Juventus over the last five years has been their ability to go from strength to strength financially, without letting go of their best players until it was time. They held on to Arturo Vidal and weren’t hurt by selling him to Bayern Munich, they’ve been holding on to Leonardo Bonucci, and they’re doing the same with Pogba, until the figures we’re hearing are new records type of deals: €100 million and more.
It seems Juventus intend on keeping Pogba for at least one more season. One way to keep him happy is proclaiming his shot at European glory is better in Turin than in Manchester. While United can pay him more in salary, Juventus are a rich club, dominating Italian football since opening their new, self-owned stadium, and are in the Champions League, something Manchester United won’t be part of next season. And being finalists in 2015, Juventus have clearly shown they’re back in the group that can be considered “European elite”.
What does Pogba do? It’s hard to understand how much of the rumors are true, how much is the work of his agent who seems to be pushing hard for him to leave, and what’s pure fabrication on part of the media. Besides money, there’s nothing better at Manchester United. They’re not as good of a team, not a bigger club in terms of achievement and power, and certainly not set up for immediate success. Unless Pogba is simply blinded by the lights or feeling there’s nothing left to achieve for him at Juventus, the best option for him is to stick around for at least one more season. The giants of Europe will still be calling 12 months from now.