Pogba To Stay At Manchester United?
It wasn’t long ago that the writing looked to be on the wall for Paul Pogba at Manchester United. But since the summer break, he is seemingly back to his best once again – kicking off the 2021-22 season in fine form. A new contract could reportedly be on the cards, as Red Devils’ manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to extend the Frenchman’s stay at Old Trafford. But what is behind this remarkable return to form and will the World Cup winner end up staying at Manchester United?
Record Breaking Start
Manchester United’s No 6 has been one of the stars of the top flight this term, with seven assists to his name in just four matches.
That’s the most a player has ever recorded in the first four games of any Premier League campaign, and is already a vast improvement on the three assists he contributed in all of 2020-21.
In fact, his seven assists has already equalled club legend Paul Scholes’ best ever tally of assists across a complete season.
The Parisian star’s upturn in form can actually be traced back to the turn of the year, and there is plenty of credit going to another ex-Red Devils’ midfielder.
Darren Fletcher’s promotion into the first-team coaching setup in January has correlated perfectly with Pogba’s dramatic improvement in performance.
Fletcher, who was only appointed as an Under-16s coach 11 months ago, is said to have had a major influence on the former Juventus midfielder.
His experience has helped push all of Solskjaer’s midfielders to the next level, but it is clear that Pogba has benefited the most since the Scotsman’s arrival.
In the 2021-22 season alone, Pogba has completed more passes than anyone else at Old Trafford – a total of 227, with a completion rate of 85.7%.
His expected assists (xA) figure of one has been massively exceeded with his total of seven, while he has completed more passes into the final third (41) and penalty area (11) than any of his teammates.
Solskjaer On Pogba's Future
Solskjaer, who is understandably delighted with the influential midfielder’s start to the season, has sung his praises and puts the 87-cap international’s success down to his off-field attitude.
He said: "Paul has come in, bright with his own personality, he's worked hard over the summer, he's lean and he's enjoying himself.
"We've seen that Paul wants to contribute. Of course you [reporters] don't see him in the dressing room or in training, but he's really determined and he shows his winning mentality and I'm very impressed with him.”
Pogba will be a free agent in the summer, but his manager isn’t worrying about the prospect of losing one of the most vital cogs in his machine just yet.
“That's gonna be the question every week now until he does sign,” added Solskjaer.
"As I've said all the time, Paul is a top player, the talks are between the club and his representatives, I'm not involved in that but he knows how much I care about him and that we want him to play well for us."
From Underachieving To Title Contenders
The Red Devils’ summer investment may have increased Pogba’s desire to stay and perform.
Getting to play with some of the biggest stars in the world – day in, day out – can sometimes be all it takes to motivate and re-engage a player.
It also makes the prospect of a return to Paris Saint-Germain less tempting for the 28-year-old.
The Parisian giants were the most likely destination for Pogba, but there’s a sense that something is brewing at Manchester United – something the 2018 World Cup winner might want to have his name attached to.
Playing in a midfield where you have the Portuguese great in front of you, as well as Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho alongside you, means you’re almost guaranteed to see your numbers improve.
Goal and assist opportunities are certain to come Pogba’s way each game, and his already sky-high confidence will surely continue to rise at Old Trafford.