Manchester United are set to be snubbed by Paul Pogba, the youngster they were once so "blind" to appreciate that he left for Juventus.
Gianluigi Buffon has expressed his disbelief that United ever allowed the French youngster to leave Old Trafford, having seen the 20-year-old dominate Serie A this season.
Buffon told Italian TV, per the Daily Mail:
Pogba is one of those players who leaves you speechless.
When he came we didn’t know him but after only three or four training sessions we were impressed by his enormous qualities.
My team-mates and me looked at each other as if to say, "Are they blind in Manchester?"
David Moyes was not part of the club at the time of Pogba’s departure and he clearly has his eyes open wide enough to see what a force the Juventus man is becoming.
Moyes was spotted in the crowd for Juventus’ recent trip to Cagliari, as highlighted by BT Sport's Leigh Moore, but Jeremy Cross of the Daily Star reports his £40 million attempt to bring Pogba back to Manchester will be rejected by the player:
Moyes has been told by United’s owners the Glazers that money is no object, but the Scot knows he cannot compete with PSG when it comes to a bidding war.
To make matters worse Pogba, 20, has told friends that if Juve did decide to cash in on him he would prefer to return to France and join PSG instead of going back to United.
It was Sir Alex Ferguson’s mistake to sell Pogba, allowing him to leave for free due to what the legendary Scot perceived as a lack of respect from the French youngster.
Ferguson previously told MUTV, per Mirror Football:
I don't think he showed us any respect at all so, to be honest.
I'm quite happy that if they carry on that way, they're probably better doing it away from us.
That attitude was always Ferguson’s trademark—no man was ever bigger than the club.
Yet Pogba is undoubtedly having the last laugh, seemingly able to pick his next move as Europe’s giants queue up to land a man expected to become a force over the next decade.
When he was at United, he rejected several contract offers and demanded more playing time, as reported in the Cross article. As Ferguson alludes, Pogba’s attitude was far from ideal.
However, it is entirely feasible that Pogba already knew how good he was. Buffon admits he stood out among the Juventus players inside three or four training sessions, so the likelihood is he was doing the same at United.
Moyes’ current midfield struggles are clearly visible. Other than Michael Carrick this term, United have shown little class in the centre of the park, an area in which they have been growing increasingly weak for a number of years.
Pogba was likely able to see this on a day-to-day basis and is now proving he was the man to help United avoid the slump that currently sees them struggling even to book Champions League football for next season.
According to WhoScored.com, Pogba has scored five league goals and made three assists this season. By comparison, Tom Cleverley is the only central midfielder to have netted a league strike for United, scoring just once.
|Pogba vs. Man Utd central midfielders (league record)|
Pogba also completes an average of 2.9 tackles per game and provides more than one key pass. He is becoming an all-round box-to-box midfielder, which is exactly what United need.
For once, in a dire season for Moyes, this mistake is not anything to do with him. Yet his failed attempt to bring Pogba back to Old Trafford threatens to bring more embarrassment to the club.