Paul Pogba is set to leave Manchester United on a free transfer for the second time in 10 years, with his current deal expiring at the end of next month.
The 29-year-old is believed to be in advanced talks with Juventus over a return to the Italian club but things could have been very different if his early-season form was maintained.
The France international dazzled in last year’s Premier League curtain-raiser against Leeds, registering four assists in the thrilling 5-1 win, becoming just the seventh player in the competition’s history to do so, and the first United player.
The spectacular four-assist haul was followed by another three goals created in his next three games, setting a record for the most number of assists after four games in the Premier League.
He has now been nominated for that opening-day performance against Leeds, as he’s up against Cristiano Ronaldo and four others for the Castrol Game Changer of the Season.
The award is handed out to the player with the single most game-changing impact in one game over the 2021/22 season, with Ronaldo also on the six-man shortlist for his hat-trick against Tottenham in March.
Pogba’s competition for the award includes Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale, Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin de Bruyne and Tottenham’s Steven Bergwijn.
All three of the beforementioned clubs have enjoyed fruitful seasons and Pogba’s opening-day performance is unlikely to gain traction in the voting, with Ronaldo’s more recent three-goal show poised to do better in the standings.
Should he take home the award, it will merely be a consolation for his ill-advised return to the club six years ago.