I can’t think of too many players other than Paul Pogba that have left the club, especially at a younger age, who we’ve watched and thought ‘it’s a shame we didn’t hold onto him’, apart maybe from Gerard Pique.
Pique was a victim of circumstance, he came onto the scene when we had an outstanding central defence partnership and some decent cover, and it made sense for him as a professional to move on and seek pastures new. You can’t really say it didn’t work out for the lad, as he became a mainstay in a sensational Barcelona side who had quite a bit of success. You also can’t hold much against him, as I don’t recall him ever saying much negative towards United, but I’m open to correction on that.
Pogba was one, if you’re of the right age, that we all had heard about and knew he was en route to first-team action. The issue with Paul was he wasn’t patient enough to wait his turn, which was surely to come. He convinced himself he was above that, and Sir Alex duly obliged in enabling him to escape the club to pursue his dreams in Italy.
I won’t lie, there were a few times when I saw him smashing in screamers from outside the box, strutting around with such grace, such talent, that I thought to myself, we got this one wrong didn’t we?
Manchester United, going through a process of rebuild, a stage of diminishing ability on the pitch, needed that special player to build a side around. The Ronaldo type character who could win a game on his own, Cantona like in turning it on when required and dragging us over the line to victory, and we decided that for a mammoth amount of money, Paul Pogba was to be that man, in a move which brought some raised eyebrows, a club buying back a player, for outrageous money? Not the done thing usually is it?
Excitement amongst the stands, excitement on social media and a general feeling of ‘get in there, that’s a top top signing, he’s a worldie!’.
Fast forward, and we encounter the tantrums, the José Mourinho fall out, the self centred social media presence, the mysterious injury record that’s developing, the murmurs amongst teammates about dedication and loyalty, and to cap it all off, Paul himself saying very little, if anything, in regards to any of this, but his agent seemingly unable to shut up.
Surely it’s fair to assume that Paul is indeed talking, through the puppetry of Mino Raiola?
The general consensus amongst United fans, at least those who don’t buy into the #PogBack and emoji’s and merchandise, is that Paul Pogba was a mistake, the most costly one we have made to date.
Pogba was to be the player, at a perfect age for the mission ahead, to bring the team along with him as he developed his unquestionable talents to the heights everyone knows he’s capable of, as we say players beside him to feed off him, to enable him to do his job, to bring us back to where we all want to be, challenging.
He had a willing fanbase, ready to put him on a pedestal, ready to chant his name aloud and raise him aloft upon our shoulders as he drove us forward, back to the top.
He had the Theatre Of Dreams at his disposal, a global audience and the world stage at his feet, a world which held its breath, patiently waiting to see this superstar, this phenom, rise United from the temporary ashes, and reignite the fire.
It turns out, sadly, he was no more than a wet cigarette lighter…
The time has come for Manchester United to part ways with Paul Pogba, Mino Raiola, and indeed any player he represents (we’re potentially looking at you Jesse), turn over the page and restart this process, with players who want it, players who crave it, hungry for the honour of wearing the red of Manchester.
But maybe, not before manager Solskjaer has one final swipe at the disrespectful Pogba, and potentially hinders his hopes of the French squad for the European Championships.
Now wouldn’t that be a shame.