Juventus' lack of creativity in midfield is as troubling as that of Manchester United. The time is right for them to make a move.
Juventus has never been too far away from Paul Pogba since the Frenchman left in the summer of 2016. Rumors have constantly surfaced over the midfielder’s potential move back to the Bianconeri, but nothing has materialized.
But fresh reports from Fabrizio Romano will give a lot of hope to the Old Lady, considering the situation they find themselves in. Romano goes onto state that Juve is looking to make another Matthijs de Ligt-like signing in the summer.
There seems a certain amount of certainty that Pogba is likely to leave Old Trafford in the summer of 2020.
Pogba has made only eight appearances in all competitions for Manchester United this season, having missed 30 games due to an ankle injury. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have missed his passing ability and vision while breaking down low-block defenses like that of Sheffield United, Aston Villa, Newcastle, and West Ham United.
While that has led them to drop crucial points against lesser teams, expected goal numbers show otherwise. As per UnderStat, United has created the fourth-highest number of goals in the Premier League at 42.56. But the underperformance of 6.56 on 42.56 shows that they lack the finishing abilities of someone like Odion Ighalo more than someone like Pogba himself. Which is why they’ve scored only 36 goals this season.
Bruno Fernandes has already made his debut, coming up with an encouraging performance against Wolves. He has come in as that creative spark – someone who can unlock packed defenses for Solskjaer’s men. While his performance against Wolves didn’t lead to a goal or assist, it shows that United might just be prepared for life without Pogba in the next few months.
Juve are still finding their way under a more possession-obsessed manager in Maurizio Sarri. But they’ve looked more like Massimiliano Allegri’s side from the last two seasons due to a lack of players who can help execute that technical system.
The Bianconeri have scraped through multiple games with close scorelines. Against teams like Genoa, Bologna, Torino, Brescia, Verona and Milan, they have had very close encounters in which they had to rely on late rallies to win. They’ve been drab and very predictable in possession.
As per Understat, Juve has created the fourth-highest XG in the Serie A. They’ve done that while creating 41.39 XG. That is less than United’s XG tally of 42.56. It shows that they need the creativity of Pogba, with Blaise Matuidi and Sami Khedira not getting any younger.
Pogba’s situation doesn’t seem too easily solved either. During a promotion shoot in Japan in the summer of 2019, Pogba said that he was looking for a “new challenge” away from United. His agent Mino Raiola also said that his client was looking to leave the club and was “in process” of departing Old Trafford for the second time.
It is a clear indication of the fact that his heart isn’t as set on staying at United as some United fans may like. Real Madrid did make an offer of £27.6 million plus James Rodriguez for him in the summer of 2019. Barcelona also tried signing him in the summer of 2018 by offering Andre Gomes and Yerry Mina.
This article was edited by Samburaj Das.