Paul Pogba to Arsenal.
With him having fallen out with Jose Mourinho, either the Frenchman or the Portuguese manager will be out of the door sooner rather than later at Manchester United. There is even a scenario where both could leave.
I do not expect him to join Arsenal (so stop reading now if you thought this was some blogger pretending to be ITK for hits). But should Arsenal be interested in him? And could he actually fit it.
The first thing a lot of people think about with Paul Pogba is his personality is larger than his ability. That he has an attitude and is a big time Charlie who promotes himself as being a better player than he actually is.
But is this attitude actually deserved?
He likes holidays in LA, Instagram, fast cars and hair cuts. This all has nothing to do with football. And yet it is often reported on as highlighting that Pogba is not as dedicated to football as he should be.
But then every footballer likes expensive holidays, owns a fast car and has a rubbish hair cut. As for the social media stuff. He is a 25-year old bloke having a laugh with his mates. It actually makes him normal.
Is the criticism of Pogba in the British media not just the same as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Raheem Sterling?
It is almost like young black black players can not own a nice car, or go on holiday, without it being commented on negatively by the media. Journalists then promote them as being more interested in cars, jewellery and jackets than football.
Raheem Sterling buying his mum a house became headline news; yet wen Harry Kane did it, there was little to no mention.
Almost every football owns a high end sports car, yet it is only the likes of Pogba and Aubameyang who end up in the papers over it.
I think to the press reporting of Hugo Lloris. If that was Sterling, Pogba or Aubameyang, it would have been a much bigger story.
Or Mikel Alonso who actually killed a young girl in a car crash – of that was Sterling it would be mentioned in every article on him.
The press seem to report these sort of stories very differently depending on who it is. And in the cases of Aubameyang, Pogba and Sterling, they write it from a hugely negative stand point, making it appear these players have huge attitude problems, huge egos.
Pogba does have an ego, there is no doubting that. And he does have a tendency to drift through games, inconsistent performances. Almost as if he decides when he is going to put in a performance or not. A bit like Mesut Ozil.
He is still just 25-years old, and that is perhaps what attracts teams to him. There is clearly a player there who just needs to become more consistent.
The worry is that he could become another Mario Balotelli. That the “other stuff” could soon take over. But is this not too easy a comparison to make? Two black players who die their hair and have a few off the field problems.
Because the thing is Pogba’s off the field issues are no where near as problematic as Balotelli. The Italian clearly has a screw loose. From burning his house down with fireworks, throwing darts at kids and getting in fights with tem mates.
Balotelli also had many on-field problems. Karate kicks, stamps, unneeded show boating. He has been sent off 11 times in his career and has had 122 yellow cards; that is once every 3 games. Pogba meanwhile has just 3 red cards – not bad for a central midfielder – and is booked every 6 games. To compare the twos discipline is just silly.
Personally I do not think Pogba is the problem personality that the media make him out to be.
The next big question is price tag. He is simply not worth the then-world record £89m Manchester United paid Juventus for him. Although taking into account the current climate of fees, maybe this is no longer that pricey?
He is an all action midfielder who’s contribution can not be defined by just goals and assists.
He has a pass completion record of around 85%, making about 70 passes a game for Manchester United. His defensive contribution is also solid, taking into account he often plays with two behind him. He also averages a goal or assist every 2 games. He contributes even when you think he has not.
It is hard to put a value on him in the current transfer market; and it would all depend on how desperate Man U are to get rid of him. Would £60m be too low? Or too high even?
As for where he fits in at Arsenal, I think the answer to that would be “perfectly”.
In Mesut Ozil, Arsenal already have an under appreciated playmaker who is often misinterpreted in the media. There has been plenty of talk in the last 12 months – before and after his contract renewal – that he might leave the club.
Would Ozil out, Pogba in be a good deal for the club? It would certainly give Pogba the freedom to get around the park that he craves.
And then you have Aaron Ramsey. He currently plays as the most advanced of a midfield 3 with Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torriera in behind.
Could we see a repeat of Mkhitaryan for Sanchez? A swap deal of Ramsey and Pogba? It will probably be harder to pull off. Could Arsenal then carry both Pogba and Ozil?
Or could Arsenal accommodate all 3?
Pogba likes playing advanced on the left. Ozil can play anywhere behind the front man, and Ramsy playing in the middle a bit deeper.
With Aubameyang or Lacazette up top, it would be a front 4 that is dangerously talented.
Anyway, I ma kind of done thinking out loud, what do you think?