Why Man United should plot a swoop for Marco Verratti and let Pogba leave
According to the Mirror, former Liverpool midfielder and football analyst Danny Murphy has urged Man United to make a move for PSG midfielder Marco Verratti in the January transfer window and allow Paul Pogba to leave the club.
Pogba was heavily linked with moves to Real Madrid and Juventus all throughout the summer and an exit looked very much on the cards for the World Cup winner, with the Frenchman openly discussing his desire to ply his trade elsewhere away from Old Trafford. (h/t Mirror)
Despite that, however, United were not ready to let him depart in the summer due to lack of feasible alternatives and Pogba stayed put at the club until at least January, albeit the Red Devils’ decision to keep hold of him hasn’t necessarily paid any dividends thus far.
The 26-year-old’s involvement has been limited to only 5 appearances in all competitions due to an ankle injury and Pogba has come under scrutiny for his lacklustre performances, impetuous nature and lack of commitment even when he has been on the pitch.
According to another report from the Mirror, the Frenchman has demanded a new £600,000-a-week contract to continue his career at Old Trafford, something which has certainly rocked United back in their attempts to secure his long-term future at the club.
It is highly improbable that the Red Devils would want to shoulder the financial burden of such extortionate wages, especially after tying David de Gea down to a new deal.
To add to that, Pogba hasn’t really lived up to the expectations at Old Trafford with his ‘bad boy’ image following an £89 million move from Juventus in 2016, meaning that United would be foolish to relent to such wage demands.
To that end, the Red Devils need to cash in on Pogba as soon as possible and reinvest that money to bring in an ideal alternative, with the Frenchman set to enter the final 18 months of his contract in January.
New summer recruits Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James have all been some of the brightest sparks in what has otherwise been a disappointing start to the Premier League campaign for the Red Devils.
Indeed, the arrival of Maguire and Wan-Bissaka has added a lot of steel and depth to United’s backline but the Red Devils have left much to desire with their performances in the attacking third.
James has been a devastating presence in Ole Gunnar Solskajer’s counter-attacking system but, overall, they have lacked cohesion and creativity, and the disparity between the midfielders and the attackers has been quite ridiculous.
Solskjaer has used the likes of Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay in his double pivot in the midfield in the absence of Pogba and while both of them have been quite solid, neither of them has been able to make much of an impression further up the pitch.
As well as the creativity from a genuine No.10, United have also lacked a central midfielder who can consistently pick out the right passes, make runs into the box and rip defences apart with his vision from the deeper areas.
At the same time, shield the backline with his defensive awareness, something that Michael Carrick used to do so well before his retirement a couple of seasons ago.
McTominay hasn’t got the all-round game to do that, Matic is past his prime while Pogba and Fred apparently lack the discipline and the defensive capabilities to contribute equally to both attack and defence.
To put things into perspective, it is easy to see why Danny Murphy has urged United to make a move for Marco Verratti in January. Blessed with a superb all-round game, the Italian international is widely regarded as one of the best central midfielders on the planet and, at 26, he is very much into his prime years as a professional.
Verratti, who has bagged 22 major silverware over the course of the past seven seasons at PSG, is very much a forward-thinking midfielder with excellent technical abilities and vision but he also has the defensive awareness and the game-reading skills to cope with the transitions in play.
Add to that his strength, composure, discipline, work-rate, range of passing, tackling skills and ability to chip in with goals, and it is easy to see why the 34-cap Italian international is right up there with the very best in his position.
United need someone to control the game and dictate the play in the middle of the park and someone like Verratti would be an ideal fit for Solskjaer’s philosophy, which necessitates the ball to be released quickly by the central midfielders in order to hit the opposition on the break.
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With that in mind, United should consider a swoop for Marco Verrratti in January and put a full stop to the speculation over Pogba’s future in a bid to add that much-needed balance to their midfield ranks.