Manchester United’s worst run of form came just after they lost Paul Pogba to injury. They went on a barren run in the League for some games and it coincided with the absence of their star midfielder.
They had no other creative options on the team and were really struggling to score and when they did, they couldn’t score more than once for a number of games as well.
Now though, is a whole different story for United who look like a team reborn in recent months. Fred who for the best part of his near 18 months at the club was nothing short of unremarkable but now he looks a completely different (and £52m rated) player who has also struck a partnership with the ever-improving Scott McTominay.
United’s main problem this season was how to break down the teams that sit deeper and allow them possession. They are unable to break these teams down more often than not and as even Solskjaer has admitted, they have felt the absence of Pogba in these games because of the vision he possesses to unlock tight defences.
Obviously, when United do not win the games they ought to, it means that their league standings take a hit but without Pogba, they have beaten Chelsea(twice), Tottenham and Manchester City showing that they can win the bigger matches without him.
Before their Carabao cup tie against Colchester, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ruled Pogba out of the match due to him being ill but footage of Pogba dancing energetically at his brother’s wedding. Nobody can criticize him for celebrating at his brothers but with this video coming just hours after Ole said he was ill, one has to wonder if the Frenchman really wants to be at the club.
Solskjaer has spoken of Manchester United DNA and having players who want to play at the club, work hard for the club and wear the badge with pride and their best player does not seem to have those qualities at the moment.
Having an academy graduate this talented at the club, Ole is banking on the fact that the Frenchman still loves the club and will give his all to the club his career started with and he’s not wrong to believe that. However, from a neutral standpoint, there an increasing agreement between the United supporters and neutrals alone that the Frenchman needs to leave the club.
The team has always looked to Pogba as its face and difference-maker but now Marcus Rashford has stepped into that light and now has become the talisman in Pogba’s absence.
There has been speculation regarding his future and it seems more and more likely he might move on. Already Manchester United are said to be interested in Atletico Madrid’s Saul. If Pogba does go, they already have a potential replacement they can go for in the transfer market.
If they are to sell Pogba now, he might not go for the then world record £89m because his value would have dropped due to his time off the pitch but United already know what it means to sign a player for big money and sell for cheaper than that. The same thing happened with Angel Di Maria.
He might not leave till the end of the season which will be the last chance to see where his heart is at and make the decision of whether to sell him or not.
Moving on from Pogba will be the hardest thing United might have to do but with a chance/probability of Pogba playing more games in the second half of the season, his value might go up and United will be able to sell at the right price and focus on other high profile signings.
He may be one of the best in the world but his team does not need him at the moment which for Pogba may be music to his ears and a step in the positive direction for the club as well.