Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba was signed for big money by Manchester United but his time at Old Trafford has been a failure. Image Credit: Reuters

When Paul Pogba returned to Manchester United six years ago for a then record fee of £89 million, many felt the club would once again dominate football. But, it did not turn out that way.

The gifted French international failed to shine during his time at Old Trafford. In fact, it was Sir Alex Ferguson who allowed him to leave the club when he was 20 because he didn’t feel he was good enough. He moved to Italy and had a successful period with Juventus and then in 2016 he came back to the red half of Manchester. But Ferguson would be proved right.

Pogba simply wasn’t good enough in a United shirt and leaves the club with the vast majority of fans pleased to see the back of him. It can be argued that he never settled due to the sheer number of managers the club went through. During his time at the Theatre of Dreams, several coaches came and went all gave Pogba a run of games. He was signed by Jose Mourinho but it appeared nobody was sure of his best position. Not even Pogba himself. Was he best as part of a deep-lying two man midfield? On the left of a three? As a number 10? Wide of a more advanced attacking unit beyond two holders? He was tried in all of these and more but never looked comfortable.

Needed cover

We all know his strengths are in attack, he can pick out a pass and has a strong shot. But he needed cover when attacking from deep and this was big issue as there was nobody of real quality at United to allow him to venture forward. The pairing of Fred and Scott McTominay was derided and neither did much to help Pogba.

It’s been a strange last decade for the club. In fact ever since Ferguson retired, United have been in a mess. David Moyes was hired to build on the Ferguson era of success but he didn’t event last a full season. Then came Louis Van Gaal. He failed. Mourinho came next. He failed. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, failed. Interim coach Ralph Rangnick was another failure. The next coach to try his luck at turning things around is Erik ten Hag but he will try to restore the club’s fortunes without Pogba who leaves as a free agent. Not that he would have wanted him there in the first place. Pogba would not have suited the former Ajax coach’s style of play who favours intensity in the press. Pogba hadly ever put a tackle in during his spell at the club, and is not known for pressing opponents. Had he still have been under contract at Old Trafford, Ten Hag would probably not have even found space on the bench for him.

It isn’t just Pogba whose career has gone downhill at United. There have been many others who have suffered a similar fate. Memphis Depay, Angel Di Maria, Marcus Rashford to name a few have gone from being heroes to zeroes while at Old Trafford.

Iconic shirt

It is difficult to recall a moment Pogba did anything iconic in a red shirt. His stats are very underwhelming. 39 goals and 51 assists in 233 appearances. This season he made 20 Premier League appearances, scored one and claimed nine assists, four of which came in United’s first game against Leeds. That just is not good enough considering his astronomical fee and a contract worth £7.75m-a-year.

United have not won anything whilst he has been at the club and when he left the pitch after what turned out to be his last appearance against Liverpool in April, he was booed by his own fans. Suffice it to say, he will not be missed but don’t be surprised if he rebuilds his career elsewhere and reminds us just why United paid £89 million for him all those years ago.