He is the world’s most expensive footballer. He’s big, he’s strong and dominates the midfield like a modern Patrick Viera.
If you’re still unsure of who we’re talking about, its Paul Pogba. Also, known as ‘the world’s most expensive player’.
To put it in perspective, Paul Pogba, having arrived at United for just under 90 million pounds, is valued over ten times as much as Two Rivers Mall in Nairobi—which is also the biggest mall in East Africa.
Shocking, right? United could have bought ten Two Rivers-sized malls for Paul Pogba. Yet instead, they settled for a player who many believe has under-performed and under-delivered in his first season.
But what do the facts say?
If we consider the turbulent season that Manchester United have had, it becomes easy to point fingers. And though football fanatics, including United fans, have blamed the likes of Mourinho and Pogba for United’s poor performance, what do the facts really say about Paul Pogba?
Let’s look at Pogba’s performance compared to his last season at Juventus—a season where he was named in Serie A’s team of the year.
*All stats as of Apr 29 2017
No player in the Premier League has completed more passes than Pogba this past season (2,139). And by the way, Pogba also has 220 more passes completed than any other player in the Europa League (770). Not bad if you consider that Pogba has played in various roles within the United midfield, i.e. he wasn’t just passing sideways and backwards like a Michael Essien, Makelele-type player.
In comparison with his last season in Italy, Pogba has created 0.4 more chances per game for United. In total he has created up to 55 chances for United forwards which is also reminiscent of his epic partnership with Zlatan Ibrahimović in the first half of the season.
Under Mourinho, Pogba has also drastically improved defensively. As of March 2017, on average, Pogba had made 1.6 interceptions per game (0.3 more than at Juventus), 1.5 clearances per game (up from 0.8) and won 2.8 aerial duels per game (up from 1.8 at Juventus).
If these stats aren’t enough to convince you, let’s compare Pogba to the premier Leagues ‘Player of the Season’ N’golo Kante.
As of March, of the 2016-2017 season Pogba out-shined Kante in goals, assists, shots on target, chances created, and Pass accuracy. Now granted, Kante does have some impressive defensive statistics, but do they warrant the contrasting opinions between the two players?
We’ll leave that for you to decide.
Pogba Is Better Than You Think
Despite it all, the underlying truth is that Paul Pogba has had a good first season at United. If nothing else, he has set a good foundation and proved himself as a competent Premier League footballer. Soon we may see him reach the heights touted by his 90-Million-pound price tag.
There’s something every United fan can take into their next debate.
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