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“The problem is not the tactical system” Manchester United Manager Explains Why This Marquee Signing Is Struggling To Hit Top Gear

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This may be the age of ridiculous transfer fees, but it is a commonly held belief that a record transfer fee brings the best player ready for the first team. Manchester United fans would have assumed the same when Paul Pogba came to Old Trafford in a £89 million deal. United had to part of a with a considerable sum of money for a midfielder. Many pundits felt that Pogba was overpriced in the first place as he was a midfielder who would not score at the same frequency as a Luis Suarez or Cristiano Ronaldo.

Pogba would offer different qualities, but he would always be compared with such top goal scorers. Even then, United fans would be hoping for a box to box midfielder who can contribute in attack and defence in the best possible manner. Apart from a few moments of brilliance, Pogba has not been near his best. This has led to questions regarding his position on the pitch. Jose Mourinho himself does not seem to have found the best position for Pogba in the Manchester United team.

After initially starting the 23-year-old as a defensive midfielder alongside Marouane Fellaini, he is now playing more of a second striker alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic. There have been goals along the way, but Pogba continues to make more headlines for his haircuts rather than performances. Mourinho has come to the rescue of his star by saying that the midfielder needs time to settle. According to Sky Sports, he said:

“He can play in so many positions. The problem is not the position. The problem is not the tactical system.

“The problem is, in my opinion, somebody that comes from a different style of football and needs this time to be at his best level in football that is really difficult to play, especially for midfield players.

“He has unbelievable potential. He has years and years to develop his game, so that expectation and investment from the club is based on that – a super player for the next seven or eight years.”

Pogba came to United after four successful years with Juventus in the Italian Serie A. The Italian league is vastly different compared to the English league in terms of pace and tactics and Mourinho is one of the few managers who has seen this difference from the inside. Even if Pogba gets the time he needs, it may be highly unlikely that he will score 40 or 50 goals each season. In his four years with Juventus, Pogba only managed 34 goals from 178 games. Yet, he was part of the team that won the league four times and reached the Champions League final once.

United and the English media will have to understand that Pogba is not a goalscorer and probably never will be. Yet, he can provide the kind of dynamism that United have lacked since the days of Roy Keane. As United experiment Pogba in a number of positions even as the season progresses through various competitions, it will not be until next year that fans may get to see the best of the Frenchman. A full pre-season with United may be the key to unlock the player’s potential.