Far from the top 10 in goals scored and assists made, not among the top 10 Serie A players with the highest pass accuracy and not even a solid tackler. What is it about Paul Pogba that makes him desirable in the eyes of Europe’s finest clubs?
The truth is statistics can be deceiving. At 22, Pogba possesses a dynamism that stands him out in a Juventus midfield that contains the ageless Andrea Pirlo and the equally impressive Arturo Vidal.
Aside his dynamism, Pogba plays in a typical box-to-box role where he contributes significantly at both ends of the pitch.
In 22 Serie A appearances this season, he has scored 7 goals which doesn’t make impressive reading for a player generating such hype. His shot accuracy stands at 54 per cent, which when compared with Vidal’s 39 is really awesome.
Having played a game less than Vidal, Pogba has a pass accuracy (83) which is slightly less that Vidal’s 84. But the Frenchman has won more duels (54) than his Chilean teammate (45), created slightly more chances (33 against 32) and they are equally ambitious with their passing, averaging 16m passes forward this season.
The question remains what makes Pogba so appealing if his stats are not so spectacular compared with the more experienced Vidal?
Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Paris St. Germain have all been credited with interest in the young France international.
From central midfield, City’s untrusted Fernando possesses the highest pass accuracy (91) for City having completed 914 passes, while Yaya Toure has created 6 less chances than Pogba this season and also has a lesser shot accuracy (41). And Toure is supposed to be the best central midfielders among City’s ranks.
It is no surprise then to see the Etihad side linked with a big money bid for Pogba. They evidently need the qualities he offers.
The rest, Chelsea, United, and Madrid could do with Pogba too. Chelsea would have the perfect partner for Nemanja Matic who has an 87 per cent pass accuracy, created 21 chances won 50 percent of his duels and averages more ambitious passes (18m). The implication of the last stat is that Matic sits deeper than Pogba, making 76 tackles with a 41 percent success rate. Their array of distribution and industry would allow Fabregas move further forward to lay on more assists for Diego Costa and Eden Hazard. A Chelsea deal for Pogba, in this light, becomes a no-brainer.
The same applies to Madrid who will lose Sami Khedira in the summer while Pogba is significantly a better midfielder than Manchester United’s pack.
It becomes evident that Pogba though not statistically spectacular as the stories about him would have you believe, would be an excellent addition to any squad. The fact, though, is that any deal for him would be enormous; maybe even unlikely.
The stories flying around indicate a massive sum, usually around £50m plus a player or two. Chelsea will offer Oscar and/or Ramires, Manchester City will add Samir Nasri to any deal while United will be looking to swap Robin van Persie or Nani or one of their many fringe players.
Whatever be the case, any potential deal for Pogba would be hefty. But the question still is: is he worth it?
*all stats according to Sqwuaka.com.