Manchester United’s 800-word tribute to Paul Pogba last week was intended to be the final word on a six-year association that has brought neither player nor club much happiness.
The scale of the farewell jarred given how disappointing Pogba has been at Old Trafford, a club record £ 89million signing leaving for nothing and being mourned by nobody.
The Frenchman has shown only flashes of brilliance during his time at the club and the second half of that spell has been characterized by long periods of absence from the player and troublemaking from his late agent Mino Raiola.
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Pogba has been a headache for United since he requested a new challenge in 2019 and, given their time again, there is no doubt they would have cashed in three years ago.
The club’s confirmation on June 1 of what was essentially an open secret, that Pogba would leave when his contract expires at the end of this month, might have at least taken some of the sting out of the 29-year-old’s Amazon documentary, which is out later this month.
It now looks certain that Pogba will return to Juventus and no amount of PR spin can make a reveal on the nauseatingly titled The Pogmentary more exciting. The only people tuning in on June 17 will be Pogba sycophants and United officials hoping they can avoid one final hand grenade from the player.
In the trailer released last week, Pogba certainly plays up the decision over his future that he tries to claim is in the balance.
“I am at a turning point in my career,” Pogba says in the video. “I have big decisions to make that will decide my future – and I have no room for error.”
In reality, he was never going to recommit to United, but leaving that prospect tantalisingly floating in the air might have suited Pogba and his production company.
United took the suspense away by making their own announcement and it’s something they should arguably have done before now. The contract they offered him remained untouched for months and months and they must have known that not only did he not want to stay, but he was not worth the expense either.
This is a player who has featured in just 62 of United’s 114 Premier League games since he made his desire to leave public. He might have been unlucky with injuries but he’s also never looked like someone willing to go through the pain barrier for his club.
Pogba has had the Amazon cameras on his tail since signing a deal for the documentary last April. It will be fascinating to see how his final year at the club is portrayed, given there have once again been injuries, there was the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and United fans finally turning on Pogba in April.
For all the criticism that has come his way, Pogba has always remained incredibly fond of United and he was desperate to succeed back at the club, although when it became apparent that was not going to happen his commitment may well have wavered.
In reality, we’re unlikely to learn anything new about Pogba from this film. Documentaries about current footballers, endorsed by the players themselves, are mind-numbingly boring, which is why they try and inject a flicker of excitement by revealing a new club into them, a move pioneered spectacularly badly by Antoine Griezmann.
United finally took hold of the debate around Pogba themselves by confirming his exit last week, making the player dance to their tune at long last. Now they will tune in to the documentary and try to stay awake to see how his time at Old Trafford is portrayed.
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