He's been unfairly scrutinised for his antics away from football, but Paul Pogba’s situation at Manchester United is slowly turning into an ugly soap opera. Nicole Deans believes fans have the right to question his loyalty.
There's something about Paul Pogba...
“Pogback,” read the headlines when the midfielder made his much hyped return to Manchester United.
Having previously spent the later years of his youth and the beginning of his senior career in Manchester, Pogba returned triumphantly to a familiar, yet all too different club – the most blatant difference being the management.
Sir Alex Ferguson had retired and this was Pogba’s chance to make a statement to the manager who’d always seemed to get it right that, perhaps, this time he got it wrong. Or maybe not...
With many accolades and no expense spared, the £89m fee was a world record. Leaving on a high from Juventus, he affectionately talked about ‘coming home'. Since then, he’s become a World Cup winner with France, but his form at United has fluctuated and been plagued with injuries and rumours of rifts.
Take away the stories about his dancing and haircuts: that's his prerogative and, most importantly, none of our business. One thing I simply can't vouch for is the lack of confirmation regarding his loyalty.
Technically speaking, at his best, Pogba is brilliant at controlling play in midfield – something we’ve sorely missed since Paul Scholes' (second) retirement and the days of Michael Carrick, both of whom Pogba has cited as role models.
On paper, Pogba should be a valuable asset to any team and an easy first choice and, to be fair, I do believe he’s received ridiculously unnecessary criticism at times. But at present, it may just be warranted.
He’s been candid in sharing updates on his recent recovery, and is ostensibly determined to get back to full fitness. Right now, though, there’s a feeling among many fans that Pogba has already played his last game for United.
Take away the stories about his dancing and haircuts: that's his prerogative and, most importantly, none of our business. As I've said before, he is under more pressure than most with everything magnified, and I have defended him in that respect.
One thing I simply can't vouch for, however, is the lack of confirmation regarding his loyalty to the place he talked so fondly of returning to.
Once again, his agent is doing the talking on his behalf. And it doesn't make for great reading. Mino Raiola took to Twitter to state that Pogba is not Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's property or prisoner. Apparently, Ole would also do well to remember the things he said to Paul in the summer.
If only for a moment, let's assume the manager is at fault in this scenario. Then again, this isn't the first time Pogba has had supposed disagreements with the boss, is it?
Not only with Sir Alex, but Mourinho in recent times, too. It has been reported that both managers discussed his lack of respect. Ole however, has held back slightly. While none of us truly know the facts, there is one common denominator in all these instances: Paul Pogba.
A quick statement or social media post could have cleared much of this drama up. I respect the fact Paul wouldn't want to fall out with his agent, but surely the fans who have his name on the back of their kits, and the club who pay your wages, deserve to be put at ease?
I wish him well in his future career, wherever that may be, and of course I hope his injury woes come to an end. If all this proves to be hearsay, then I support him fully to silence the doubters.
One thing will never change, though. Come rain, shine or management, no player has ever, or will ever be, bigger than our beloved Reds.