Did Manchester United really make a ‘mistake’ by allowing Pogba to leave?

Paul Pogba has finally departed Manchester United after six modest seasons at Old Trafford. Goal understands that he is in talks with Juventus and a move to Turin is well on the cards.

However, the midfielder has left a scathing parting message for his former employers and has vowed to show Manchester United that they “made a mistake” in allowing him to hit free agency, questioning why he was not offered a new contract sooner.

Pogba’s second coming at United in 2016 saw him break transfer records in an £ 89 million ($ 108m) move, collect two major trophies under Jose Mourinho in his debut campaign with the Red Devils, but ultimately struggled to find the form that would have allowed critics to be won over.

What has Pogba said about Man Utd?

Pogba in his new Amazon Prime documentary said: “My thought process is to show Manchester (United) that they made a mistake in waiting to give me a contract.

“And to show other clubs that Manchester had made a mistake in not offering me a contract.”

United did attempt to tie Pogba down to a new deal during the summer of 2021, with improved terms put to him despite already pulling in a reported £ 290,000-a-week wage packet. However, the efforts did not come to fruition. But has Manchester United really made a ‘mistake’ by not extending his contract? Let us have a look at Pogba’s numbers during the six seasons he spent in England.

How did Pogba perform at Manchester United?

In his second stint at United Pogba had 90 goal contributions in 226 matches at an average of 194.35 minutes. The 2018-19 season has been the most prolific one where he scored 16 times and provided 11 assists.

But in the last three seasons, his returns went down drastically and he could not reach double digits in either goals scored or assists provided. In fact, in 2019-20 and 2021-22, he could manage to score just one goal which is pretty poor according to his own standards.

When Ralf Rangnick took over Pogba was injured and was set to miss three months of action. He chose to do his rehab in Dubai and the new manager preferred that he did his rehabilitation with the club. His final act in United colors was a gift to Liverpool which helped their arch-rivals open the scoring which would end in a 4-0 thrashing. Pogba, who got injured, failed to notify the referee, and United were caught napping on a counter. The German manager blasted him after the game and commented, “We were effectively one player down and still attacking high up. He should have lain down or sat down, but he was trying to hobble behind the referee and tell him he’s injured.”

Did Manchester United managers fail to unlock Pogba?

Pogba’s case is a typical example of the law of diminishing returns. He was at his best in the 2018-19 season and since then his form has gone south. However, it is often believed that Manchester United managers have also failed to bring out the best in Pogba. He had been deployed at a variety of positions on the pitch which has made things more complex for him. Former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer even used him as a left midfielder in several matches which clearly did not help the cause as the Frenchman is more comfortable in a central role in advanced areas of the pitch.

He is a different player for the France national team as he has someone like N’Golo Kante to support him, who would do the majority of the dirty work, giving him the freedom to maneuver in the attacking third. At United Nemanja Matic had been a shadow of his former Chelsea self, while Fred and Scott McTominay have been pretty inconsistent.

Nonetheless, did United make a mistake by allowing him to leave? The numbers might help you reach a conclusion.

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