Manchester United are looking to hire a new permanent manager and the successful candidate will need to be able to fulfil Paul Pogba’s wish.
Man United’s next permanent manager might not get to work alongside Paul Pogba, but they could learn a valuable lesson by listening to his latest comments about the club.
It always felt inevitable that Pogba would speak during the current international break, and with his contract expiring in three months’ time, his own future was once again one of the main talking points when he spoke last week.
The French international still looks set to leave Old Trafford on a free when his current deal runs out at the end of the season, and it will be interesting to see how he is remembered by supporters when they look back on his second coming at the club.
There can be no denying the love United fans have shown Pogba over the last six years, but he hasn’t made it easy for himself, often overshadowing his immense talents with frequent expressions of a desire to play elsewhere, be it via himself or his controversial agent.
But, you can understand why as well.
Years after he had been overlooked and underused by Sir Alex Ferguson, Pogba returned to United for a then world-record fee in 2016 on the promise that he would be able to guide the team to glory.
Five of those six seasons have finished trophyless, and he is now playing under his third different manager, hardly what he signed up for when he left Juventus
In that time, he has won a World Cup with France and is dreaming of another in Qatar this winter too. It’s hard to see United, searching for another manager, being able to offer the stability and structure he needs to fulfil his dreams in the years ahead.
At the age of 29, Pogba is desperate to add more trophies to his collection, and there is a feeling he has wasted the best years of his life treading water with United while others have solidified their legacy by swimming rings around him.
“The season is not over yet, but almost, because we don’t have any more titles to play for,” Pogba told French media over the weekend. “I want to win titles, to play for something and this year and the last few years we haven’t won a title. It’s sad.”
United are not only finishing this season without any silverware, but they could also finish it without Champions League football and the dreaded reality of Thursday night European football ahead of them over the next campaign.
The ironic thing is that United actually have a track record of spending even more money in the summers when they have missed out on the lucrative Champions League pot. Pogba himself signed ahead of a season of Europa League football.
Pogba’s capture is an example of what hiring an elite manager, as Jose Mourinho still was at the time, can do to boost a club’s appeal at a time of concern. Three years later, unproven boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had to splash £145m to bring Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James to the club to strengthen ahead of a Europa League campaign.
It further amplifies the importance of hiring the right manager this summer and finding someone who can not only attract the right players for the right reasons but also sell them a clear vision of the future and the belief that they can win trophies with the club.
If they somehow manage to talk the talk, they’ve then got to find a way to walk the walk.