Paul Pogba has suddenly become the centre of attention once more. All had gone quiet for a couple of weeks but he’s now back in the limelight which, it’s fair to say, is where he likes to be.
The Frenchman, who is undoubtedly Manchester United’s ‘starman’ even if his performances on the pitch don’t always show it, did not exactly show great commitment to his club when asked about his future and a possible move to FC Barcelona.
Instead, Pogba told reporters that “my future is currently in Manchester. I still have a contract, I’m playing there at the moment, but who knows what will happen in the near future.”
He also continued with this needless and inflammatory comment.
“One thing I can assure you: I will always give 100 per cent, no matter which coach I always give everything,” Pogba said. “I cannot say more.”
Just two weeks ago after captaining Man United against Brighton & Hove Albion in a 3-2 defeat, Pogba admitted that his attitude had not been good enough which, of course, directly contrasts with what he has now falsely claimed. Pogba clearly does not “always give 100 per cent” and his comments on “which coach” are what they are designed to be: inflammatory.
This is Paul Pogba and his agent Mino Raiola. But all of that is what the point is not.
The point is that Pogba could be on his way to Barcelona in the same way that Philippe Coutinho was less than a year ago. The Brazilian then-Liverpool star was one of the best in the Premier League, and he wanted to go in the summer. That didn’t happen, and Liverpool ended up cashing in during the January transfer window for a huge fee.
On August 8 of this year, Miguel Delaney of the Independent reported, like many others, that Barcelona were going to pursue Pogba with Coutinho-style tactics.
They’re beginning to do that.
Luis Suarez has called Pogba an “elite player” with “a lot of quality” who “would always be welcome at Barcelona.” It really is Coutinho all over again. Or cast your minds back further to Cesc Fabregas at Arsenal who was forced into a Barcelona shirt during Spain’s victorious World Cup campaign of 2010.
When Barcelona want a player, they know how to get them, and they have a very particular way of doing it.
Suarez is not the only member of FC Barcelona to comment on Paul Pogba. Gerard Pique, a former United man himself, said Pogba is “a great player” and that Barcelona “would be happy to have him, obviously”.
Vice-President of the club, Jordi Mestre, said in Mundo Deportivo on Thursday morning that Pogba is a “player of unquestionable quality.”
That was, of course, after he had just claimed that “we do not talk about players that are not at our club.” Contrasting statement much? Especially given that he went on to say that “what I read is that Pogba is unhappy at Manchester United and his agent, Mino Raiola, has been more vehement in efforts to sell him.”
It was the same as Pique, who said Pogba and United’s issues were a “private matter” before unloading his opinion on them.
This is Barcelona, and this is their tactics. Pogba is their next target, and he’s playing along. United will have their work cut out trying to stop it, but if they can’t, they have to ensure that they benefit massively financially from any deal just as Liverpool did and reinvest wisely, just as their rivals Liverpool did.