The transfer window has only been officially open for a matter of days but Chelsea’s links with young Frenchman Paul Pogba go as far back as last year. The ex Man United youngster, who has won back to back Serie A titles in the last two years with Juventus is said to be available for around £50 Million.
With one of the biggest games of Pogba’s short career about to take place in the form of a World Cup quarter-final against Germany, I thought I’d have a go at playing the role of scout for the benefit of myself, readers and Jose Mourinho (if he was lucky enough to catch this article).
Pogba was deployed as one of three central-midfielders in a 4-3-3 formation. With himself and Matuidi either side of deep lying playmaker Yohan Cabaye. Whether it be Pirlo at club level or Cabaye with the national team it seems apparent that Pogba plays best when he has some insurance behind him, allowing him to roam and create without having to worry wholeheartedly about getting back.
The dominant early possession of the Germans meant that Pogba was limited to closing down passing lanes and pressing high up the pitch. His defensive aspects appeared to be sound, fully focused and aware of off ball runners.
His first meaningful involvement, unfortunately, was a negative one. An unnecessary nudge in the back of Toni Kroos gave Germany a chance to whip the ball in to the box from a dangerous position. A chance that Germany duly converted from a glancing Hummels header.
A powerful run allowed Pogba to evade three German players, his through ball flicked from the outside of the boot was agonisingly only just cut out by the lunging leg of Phillip Lahm. Some neat turns and flicks proceeded this elegant piece of work.
Pogba gathered the ball in the French half, shrugged off Muller and subsequently played a magnificent cross field ball to Benzema on the left flank who couldn’t complement Pogba’s great work.
Largely a peripheral figure in the opening 20 minutes however, as the half progressed and the French generally improved so did Pogba, his confidence was clear to see in the latter stages.
Another booming cross field ball from Pogba in the second half saw him pick out Griezmann who couldn’t bring it down.
The Rio heat seemed to have taken its toll on both sets of players involved and none more so than Pogba who look jaded and generally struggled to get involved in the second half.
As the game petered out and headed towards a Germany win, Pogba appeared to lack the inspiration or imagination to get his side back into the game.
Although the performance of Pogba was underwhelming in terms of a team sense, the Juve man showed some individual highlights and moments of brilliance that would add extra class to the current Chelsea team. His positivity is infectious. Touches and flicks are made to look easy and passing the ball forward is his priority, something we aren’t used to with Mikel for example.
The only question mark that lingers in my mind is his temperament, often known for his short temper he has the bad habit of hitting out. Just a few games ago he was caught kicking Honduras player Wilson Palacios. The Frenchmen seems easily provoked and this could put Chelsea and other potential buyers off. That being said the most mercurial players are often the best. The only other stumbling block would potentially be the price of such a young talent. After splashing out £60 million on both Fabregas and Costa it would be hard to justify spending that sort of money, especially as Fabregas plays in a similar position.
Would Pogba be a player you would like at Chelsea?
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