Manchester United and Paul Pogba have history. It is well-documented that as a teenager he grew frustrated at a lack of first-team opportunities and was therefore reluctant to sign a new contract which Sir Alex Ferguson saw as a show of arrogance and a lack of respect. This dispute lead to the French midfielder joining Juventus and it would be fair to say that his career has been on an upward trajectory since that moment. His decision to turn his back on United and fight for a first-team place at Italian giants Juventus has unquestionably been vindicated with three consecutive league titles, a Champions League runners-up medal and global recognition after winning the young player of the tournament award at the 2014 World Cup. Instead of taking a gamble on the admittedly raw but indisputably talented Pogba, Ferguson preferred to play Brazilian right-back Rafael da Silva in a central midfield position and recall Paul Scholes from retirement. Just three years on and Pogba is at the centre of a £70m transfer wrangle with the likes of Barcelona desperate to capture his signature. As a result, his meteoric rise is only set to continue so why should he return to the club that failed to give him the opportunity to perform?
Jose Mourinho is successful because he gets the best out of his players. He has found a way of ensuring that the players at his disposal perform to their very maximum in every match. John Terry is the obvious example. Deemed surplus to requirements by Rafael Benitez three years ago, Terry has just finished the 2014/15 season with a Premier League title having played every single minute of the campaign. It is difficult to imagine him producing that level of consistently brilliant performance under another manager, but Terry, like his team-mates, play and win for Mourinho. If Pogba were to join Chelsea, Mourinho would demand that he played to his maximum level in every single match. That is a frightening prospect when you consider he has the talent and the potential to become one of the very best players in the world.
Pogba is supremely talented but sometimes gives the impression that he has to be settled and appreciated in order to perform to the best of his ability. Chelsea have an incredibly settled formation under Mourinho which involves three central-midfielders in a rigid triangle. Two sit in a defensive midfield position as one fulfils a more advanced role in order to support the lone striker. Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas will undoubtedly fill two of these three positions next season but the other is there for the taking. Pogba could fit seamlessly into that attacking midfield role safe in the knowledge that the rest of his team-mates already know the system off by heart. Mourinho could allow him and Hazard the creative freedom in the final third whilst the rest of the side do exactly as they did last season. United on the other hand do not have a recognisable system. Louis van Gaal used 37 different players last season and a variety of different formations as he looked to determine his best side. This uncertainly resulted in some uninspiring performances as the players were still adjusting to the Dutchman’s complex tactics and ideas. Angel Di Maria was particularly disappointing after being asked to play at right-wing, left-wing, attacking-midfield and even striker. This element of uncertainty could be detrimental to Pogba’s development as he needs consistency in order to flourish.
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