Rumours are rife that Paul Pogba will leave Manchester United at the end of this season and it is no surprise considering his ability to dominate weaker opponents but go missing during big games. A massive fee with an enormous reputation offered so much, but he is so far yet to stamp his mark on any big games. Has this been because Mourinho has played him in the wrong position, or that he has struggled to adapt to the strength of the Premier League?
When the Frenchman signed for United in the summer of 2016, he was all set to become the superstar of English football. Since signing, he has only scored 8 goals and contributed 13 assists in the Premier League and has far from justifying his £90 million price tag. During his time at United, he has struggled in the big games, and after being substituted early on in his last two fixtures, and then missing the FA Cup tie due to a supposed illness on the weekend, it seems Pogba could be on his way out in the summer.
So why has Pogba produced such lacklustre performances? One reason might well be the fact that he has played most of his games for United in a central defensive midfielder position. His natural position is as an attacking midfielder. He lacks the defensive qualities of Nemanja Matic and whenever playing in this role he appears disinterested in doing any of the dirty work, often leaving his team outnumbered when the opposition push forward.
Pogba is no Paul Scholes in midfield. He is not the sort of player who will work tirelessly around the pitch for ninety minutes; he does not have the stamina to do that and is too heavy-legged around the field. Whenever he has played further forward and had the ball in attacking positions, he has impressed, but Mourinho continues to play him alongside Nemanja Matic.
On the other hand, it could be just because he is not as good as everyone made him out to be. How often has it been the case that top players coming from other European leagues have just not been able to acclimatise to the Premiership? A short list of players includes Radamel Falcao, Alvaro Morata and Alexandre Lacazette, to name only a few.
Pogba has come from a league in which he was consistently able to bully opponents, to a league where no team can afford to have an off day. When playing in the Serie A Pogba constantly had time on the ball, playing for a team that dominated Italy for many years. Ever since he arrived in England, he has constantly been harassed on the ball, and disappeared in the big matches, most notably a few weeks ago against Tottenham.
It has in general been two very underwhelming seasons for Pogba, and he is now in danger of becoming a player who will be remembered for his celebrations and hairstyles, as opposed to what he could do with the ball at his feet.