Is Manchester United better off without Paul Pogba?

It’s been a long time coming. José Mourinho has finally left Manchester United. The 3-1 loss to Liverpool may have acted as a catalyst, but the build up to the sack started from the beginning of the season.

The manager requested for more money to bolster his squad. The board felt having already spent more than £300 million, he had spent enough and there was enough quality in the team to compete. But the manager knew what he wanted to achieve and results vindicated him. Just that there were other factors involved.

His constant complaining and disagreements with players had become an even bigger factor in the team’s performance. From Luke Shaw to Anthony Martial. Antonio Valencia to Paul Pogba, he had issues with all.

And then there was the chemistry in the team. It was so bad there was hardly a player that could give his best. But you can’t blame it all on the manager. The players have to pull their weight too. That’s especially so with Pogba.

Going by his sign-on fee alone, the Frenchman should be the star man in the United team. But apart from flashes of brilliance like he showed in the second half of the match against Manchester City last season, he has largely failed to live up to expectations. Add to that frequent squabbles with the manager and one begins to wonder if he is there for the good of the team or as a destabilising agent.

But is the man really to blame for the state of things under the Portuguese manager? Afterall players need the right management to get the best from them. The man was flying at Juventus and playing the football of his life before being signed by Man United for a record-breaking fee.

Before moving to Old Trafford, the 25-year-old helped Juventus to get to the Champions League final while winning the Scudetto for four consecutive years. He was recognised as one of the best players on the planet by FIFA having made both the 2015 UEFA Team of the Year and the FIFPro World XI for that year.

While at United, he has been a key part of the French national team and helped Les Bleus win the World Cup just last summer. But his performance for United has consistently been below the high standard expected of him. Could this be a case of the club not being the right fit for the player?

Mourinho’s departure will answer those questions. The new interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer once gave an interview extolling Pogba’s virtues and stated that if he were the manager, he’d build the team around the French international. Well as it’s said: Be careful what you wish for…” The United legend now has the opportunity to realise that dream.

Pogba leaving the club at this point in time will not be the best decision. It’s a time to observe the performance of the team under a different manager. Results under the new man and the player’s role in the team will either indict or vindicate Mourinho. It’s time to see what was really the problem with this team: Mourinho or the players.

Pogba’s contributions to the side between now and the end of the season will be crucial. It will make it clear whether the club needs to sell him or keep him.

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