What does signing Paul Pogba actually mean for Manchester United?

The summer-long transfer saga regarding Paul Pogba was finally and perhaps unsurprisingly put to rest today as the Frenchman completed his £89 million return to Manchester United. But what does his arrival actually mean for the club? Lewis Addley explores…

In a summer market of crazy transfer fees, Paul Pogba has become the world’s most expensive player at £89 million, how long that fee will remain the highest remains to be seen. Pundits and fans alike have cast their opinion on just about every talking point regarding the 23-year-old Frenchman, from topics such as how Pogba is or isn’t worth the money to whether Manchester United actually need him.

So let’s have a look at what Pogba’s sensational return to United actually means for the club in terms of how Jose Mourinho will be able to get the best out of the highly-rated Frenchman and the impact his arrival could have on their current midfielders.

Where exactly can we expect Pogba to play?

Pogba netted eight goals last season for Juventus in Serie A from a central midfield role and in the modern game he plays a somewhat old-fashioned style. Pogba doesn’t tend to be deployed as an attacking midfielder, despite the fact that he can be a sensational finisher from inside and outside the box. He dictates the play, evident from the fact that his passing statistics are far more impressive than his shooting statistics. Pogba managed an average of 83% passing accuracy compared to 37% shot accuracy in Serie A last season.

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Jose Mourinho is widely expected to play his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation on the opening weekend of the Premier League season. We can expect the new signings to feature from the off, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic set to lead the line. Behind him, Anthony Martial should start on the left, captain Wayne Rooney in behind in his preferred number ten role with Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the right to form a frightening trio of attacking support. With those front four slots occupied, it is clear Pogba is likely to be used in an anchoring role, deep through the centre of the park, most likely alongside Morgan Schneiderlin.

Will midfielders be leaving now Pogba has joined?

As everyone was still waiting for Pogba to be announced, Mourinho made it very clear that he was looking to bring in one more ‘high-quality player’ and have his business done before the opening weekend of the season. With that in mind it doesn’t look like the United boss is looking to offload any other players than those who have already been reported.

Juan Mata’s torrid relationship with Mourinho came into question once again after he was substituted just 27 minutes after coming on in Sunday’s Community Shield final win over Leicester City. Despite Mourinho giving what some may accept as an appropriate reason for Mata being replaced, it has only increased speculation on the Spaniard’s future at the club.

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The future of Bastian Schweinsteiger remains up in the air. It has been made apparent that the German is surplus to requirements and he looks set to be on his way out from the club just one season after joining.

It looks likely that Mourinho has Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini in his plans, but just how much playing time the three midfielders will amass is unclear.

The remaining midfielders in question will not be expected to challenge for a holding role at the club as they are either wingers or upcoming youth talent. One worth mentioning is Daley Blind, the dutchman can play in the holding role but he has predominantly featured at the back for United.

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There is no doubt the arrival of Pogba will be a boost for the United camp and some of his teammates have already taken to social media to show their excitement of his return. It is clear he has already made a huge impact in terms of talking points but now it is time for him to step up and deliver, to show any doubters that £89 million is a worthwhile fee for his services.

Is Pogba worth £89 million and are United right to have resigned the Frenchman?

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Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Southampton

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Southampton 

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Saturday, October 3 – 17:30 BST (12:30 ET)

Match Odds: Chelsea 7/10 – Draw 14/5 – Southampton 15/4

Match Preview

Chelsea will be hoping to finally get their domestic season going after a dreadful start as Southampton make the journey north to the capital on Saturday evening.

After losing in Europe to FC Porto on Tuesday, the onus is very much on Chelsea to get back to winning ways as manager Jose Mourinho is absorbing more pressure with every winless performance.

Currently the champions sit eight points off league leaders Manchester United and that gap could be widened if Chelsea fail to pick up three points on Saturday.

Chelsea’s record in the Premier League: P7 – W2 – D2 – L3

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Southampton were always going to have a difficult task of remaining competitive for the European places following high profile departures in Nathaniel Clyne and Morgan Schneiderlin this summer.

However, with the return to fitness of Ryan Bertrand things are starting to fall into place for the Saints.

Southampton’s record in the Premier League: P7 – W2 – D3 – L2

With two wins in their last six, Ronald Koeman’s men will feel that they should be doing better and face a tough task of changing things quickly in this one.

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Team News

Chelsea are only missing one first team player through injury as Thibaut Courtois is still out following a knee injury that could keep him out until Christmas. Diego Costa is serving a domestic suspension so will not feature.

Southampton will be without Fraser Forster and Florin Gardos for the trip to Stamford Bridge as both are still nursing injuries. Jordy Clasie may be able to shake off a niggle in his ankle in time to feature but he remains a doubt.

Key Points

Chelsea’s last five: W/L/L/W/D

Southampton’s last five: D/W/D/L/W

Key Stat: Chelsea have only lost once in their last 23 home matches in the Premier League.

Key Player: Loic Remy – With Diego Costa currently serving a suspension it will be down to Loic Remy to lead the line. He’s a proven goalscorer and Chelsea need plenty of those at the moment.

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Score Prediction

Chelsea 2-1 Southampton – After another challenging performance in Porto in midweek it will be tough for Chelsea to turn it around but their home form suggests they will just edge this one against a Southampton side that has proven to be inconsistent so far.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Southampton vs Manchester United

Competition: Premier League – Southampton vs. Manchester United

Venue: St. Mary’s Stadium – Sunday, September 20 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: Southampton 15/8 – Draw 11/5 – Manchester United 6/4

Match Preview

Southampton host Manchester United in this week’s later Super Sunday clash, in a game that should be a low scoring affair between two sides that will look to keep things tight defensively.

Both sides boast stern defences, proved by the fact that the Saints haven’t conceded in their last three Premier League outings.

Sunday will also see Morgan Schneiderlin return back at his old stomping ground, St. Mary’s, just months after leaving. The French international spent seven years with the south coast side before his summer move to United.

Southampton’s 2015 Premier League Record: P5 – W1 – D3 – L1

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United come into the game off the back of a dismal night in Eindhoven on Tuesday which saw them lose 2-1 to Dutch champions PSV and lose key man, and former Saint Luke Shaw to a horrific leg break.

They will be hoping for a better result on Sunday, and will also be hoping to see another wonder goal from new striker Anthony Martial, after he set Old Trafford alight with a solo effort last Saturday in his United debut against Liverpool.

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Though, should captain Wayne Rooney be fit to start, Martial make have to make an appearance off the bench. The Englishman remains a doubt but could be in line to start.

Manchester United’s 2015 Premier League Record: P5 – W3 – D1 – L1

Team News

Southampton are missing Fraser Forster, Ryan Bertrand and Florin Gardos with knee injuries. Jordy Clasie and Gaston Ramirez are still struggling to shake off niggling injuries and will miss the visit of United.

Manchester United will be without defenders Luke Shaw and Phil Jones for the trip to Saints. Shaw suffered a double fracture in his right leg in Champions League action on Tuesday night and Phil Jones is still struggling with a blood clot. Wayne Rooney is a doubt with a hamstring injury but could return in place of Anthony Martial.

Key Points

Southampton’s last five: D/L/D/W/D

Manchester United’s last five: W/W/D/L/W

Key Stat: Manchester United have won on six of their last seven away trips to Southampton in all competitions.

Key Player: David De Gea – After a summer in limbo, Spanish stopper De Gea returned to his frightening best with a stellar display that earned United all three points against Liverpool last week. He remains United’s best asset and will be important here.

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Score Prediction

Southampton 0-2 Manchester United – We’re not expecting it to be as easy as the scoreline may suggest for the Red Devils but we still expect them to take all three points and remain in the early season title chase.

Are Manchester United failing in this summer’s transfer window?

It is no secret that Manchester United have missed out on a number of their transfer targets this summer, but are they failing by not adding players they so desperately need in this window?

United have added some world class players to their squad, there is no doubting that, but they have also missed out on some high caliber names, which could arguably be the difference in mounting a strong title challenge and waiting another season.


Players signed (as of August 24, 2015):

– Sergio Romero – Free
– Matteo Darmian – £12.7m
– Morgan Schneiderlin £25m
– Bastian Schweinsteiger £14.4m
– Memphis Depay £31m


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Louis Van Gaal’s side have started the new Premier League season with two 1-0 wins and a 0-0 draw, but the Dutch manager is still rumoured to be looking to strengthen his squad before next Monday’s deadline.

Strengthening the defence as well as the attack appear to be absolute necessities if United are to challenge for the title this year, but with just a week to go in the summer transfer window, the club have missed out on almost as many key targets as those who have signed.

United were heavily linked with moves for FC Barcelona’s Pedro, who has ended up signing for Chelsea, Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos, who has signed a new five-year contract with Los Blancos and Nicolas Otamendi, who has signed for fierce rivals Manchester City.

Despite talk of needing a world class centre-back, Van Gaal’s side haven’t conceded a league goal in their opening three games. But there are many who believe the Red Devils need a new striker as Wayne Rooney has now gone 858 minutes without scoring a Premier League goal and is struggling in the lone striking role this term.

Van Gaal has insisted he does not need a striker and is happy with his options, as reported by ESPN.

“I have a lot of options. I have chosen Chicharito [Hernandez], because he is another type from Rooney, and we have also Fellaini, who is another type, then I have Wilson and Januzaj, so I don’t think we need a striker.”

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Speculation will continue to mount regarding whether or not United need another attacking option the longer their goal scoring troubles go on in league play. With seven days remaining in the transfer window there is still plenty of time for potential deals to go ahead, but United may be ruing missed chances at this stage as panic buys could be on the way.

PHOTOS: Exclusive images from United’s win over Club America in Seattle

Manchester United got their preseason campaign underway in fine style with a solid 1-0 win over Club America in their International Champions Cup match at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, the home of both the Seahawks and Sounders.

Morgan Schneiderlin scored the only goal of the game inside five minutes as he enjoyed a dream start to life in a United shirt, heading in Juan Mata’s cross to the delight of Louis Van Gaal.

“He scored with Southampton, I believe five goals, so it is not a coincidence but we have practised this with him so I was very pleased with the performance,” the Dutchman said after the game.

“We didn’t give a goal away, only one or two chances, so I am satisfied about that. We played like a team and [Club] America was very handy with the ball, all of the players were very aggressive and quick, so it was not so easy.”

United continue their ICC run when they face Major League Soccer outfit San Jose Earthquakes at their new Avaya Stadium on Tuesday night, before facing FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.

Check out our exclusive photos from the game in Seattle on Friday night below, courtesy of our North American photographer Denise McCooey.

Manchester United vs Club America Seattle Wayne Rooney Manchester United vs Club America Seattle Depay Young Mata Schneiderlin Darmian Blind Manchester United vs Club America Seattle Smalling Manchester United vs Club America Seattle Schweinsteiger Manchester United vs Club America Seattle Manchester United vs Club America Seattle Wayne Rooney Manchester United vs Club America Seattle Rooney Manchester United vs Club America Seattle Depay Manchester United vs Club America Seattle Young

PHOTOS: Exclusive images of United training in Seattle, new signings featured

Manchester United start their preseason campaign on Friday night with their first International Champions Cup match taking place in Seattle against Club America.

The Red Devils then fly out to California to face the San Jose Earthquakes, before key games against FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.

New United signings Memphis Depay, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Matteo Darmian all made the trip to the United States, along with David De Gea despite ongoing exit talks.

Check out all of those players in action as our North American photographer Denise McCooey watched United train at the Seattle Seahawks’ Virginia Mason Athletic Center – the second largest training facility in the NFL:

Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Louis Van Gaal

Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Wayne Rooney Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Matteo Darmian Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Schweinsteiger Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Morgan Schneiderlin Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Bastian Schweinsteiger Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 David De Gea Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Memphis Depay

TRANSFER ROUNDUP: United to HIJACK Arsenal target, Liverpool’s Real Madrid swoop & Britton to MLS

Daily transfer roundup (Monday, June 1)

MLS Rumours

Swansea City‘s Leon Britton is being linked with a move away from the club after limited playing time and Major League Soccer is a possible destination. (REPORT)

Former Liverpool hero, John Arne Riise, is on the verge of signing for Philadelphia Union with Renee Mulensteen playing a key role in the move. (REPORT)

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Oguchi Onyeywu‘s future with New York City FC remains uncertain. The defender has been on a week trial with the club but they are yet to decide whether or not to sign him on a permanent basis. (REPORT)

Premier League Rumours

Manchester United are set to hijack Arsenal‘s move for Southampton‘s Morgan Schneiderlin who is seen as a long-term replacement for Michael Carrick. (REPORT)

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Chelsea have moved into pole position to sign £57m rated Paul Pogba from Juventus. The Frenchman has attracted interest from Europe’s elite clubs. (REPORT)

Liverpool are plotting a £10.5m move for Real Madrid goalkeeper, Keylor Navas, as Los Blancos are preparing for David de Gea to become their number one. (REPORT)
Done Deals
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Watford have completed the signing of Werder Bremen defender Sebastian Prodl. The 27-year-old free agent is Watford’s first signing since their return to the top flight. (REPORT)

Midfield star dismisses Spurs link as Arsenal legend urges move

Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin has cooled talk of a Premier League switch to Tottenham this summer, while Arsenal legend Ray Parlour has encouraged Arsene Wenger to make a move for the French star.

The 25-year-old holding midfielder has continued to impress with the Saints this season despite a preseason filled with rumours of an exit to either Spurs or Arsenal, with Southampton unwilling to sanction a sale.

And although both clubs are still linked with the powerful midfield enforcer, a move to Spurs does not look likely as Schneiderlin has revealed the “page is turned” with regard to former boss Mauricio Pochettino, whose Spurs team travel to St Mary’s to face the Saints this Saturday.

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“He’s a great manager, we achieved great things last year but the page is turned,” he told BBC Radio Solent.

Schneiderlin’s comments would suggest a reunion with the Argentine coach is unlikely, paving the way for a fresh Arsenal approach in the coming months, something Ray Parlour would love to see.

The former Gunners midfielder has stated that the Saints man would be a “perfect” signing despite the latest reports suggesting a move is unlikely because of Francis Coquelin’s emergence.

“I’ve watched him a few times this year at St. Mary’s, and against Chelsea. I thought he did a great job in front of the back four,” Parlour is quoted as saying by the Daily Star.

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“Defensively, he is tactically very good. When the ball goes wide you can see him dropping into the back two to make a three. So when balls are going in there’s an extra defender there – Gilberto Silva did that during the unbeaten season.

“He knows the Premier League, he’s not got to settle and would be perfect for Arsenal in that midfield area.”

Schneiderlin has two years remaining on his current Southampton deal and would cost more than £25 million if a move is made in the next few months.

Would Morgan Schneiderlin be the perfect signing for Arsenal this summer?

Arsenal to let Wilshere go to fund £27m move for Premier League star – report

Arsenal are willing to let England international Jack Wilshere leave the club this summer to fund a move for Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, according to the Daily Mail.

Wilshere has struggled with injuries again this season, making just nine Premier League appearances, and could be on his way out of the Emirates with Manchester City keen on a move.

City want to revamp their ageing midfield this summer and have lined up Wilshere as an ideal acquisition, along with Ross Barkley and Jordan Henderson.

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The 23-year-old midfielder joined the Arsenal academy in 2001 and has been at the club for 14 years, but would struggle to force his way back into the current team, and so a big-money move could come at the right time for the Gunners.

The sale of Wilshere would free up a move for Southampton star Morgan Schneiderlin, who is looking likely to depart this summer if the Saints fail to qualify for the Champions League.

Schneiderlin was a target of both Arsenal and Spurs last year, and although the Saints were able to hold on to the defensive midfield enforcer for the season, a bid in excess of £27 million could be enough to sign the French international this time around.

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Arsene Wenger has long needed a solid holding midfielder to strengthen the Arsenal team and Schneiderlin could be the ideal candidate, especially given his Premier League experience.

The 25 year old has made 24 league appearances this campaign, scoring three goals with one assist and could be replacing Wilshere in the Gunners’ side next season.

Would Morgan Schneiderlin be a good replacement for Jack Wilshere at Arsenal?

Chelsea plotting £45m double raid for Southampton duo

Chelsea are looking to bolster their side with the addition of impressive Southampton duo Morgan Schneiderlin and Nathaniel Clyne this summer, according to the Guardian.

The Blues are on their way to winning the Premier League but Jose Mourinho will still be keen to strengthen the team ahead of next year to keep them at the very top of English football.

Schneiderlin and Clyne have both been linked with moves away from St Mary’s this summer, with Manchester United strongly linked with the England right-back, while Arsenal are showing an interest in the French midfielder again.

But Chelsea could swoop in ahead of their Premier League rivals and secure both players for a combined total of around £45 million.

Clyne is entering the final year of his Saints contract and is likely to be on the move unless the Saints can tie him down to a long-term deal. The 24-year-old defender is expected to cost £15 million if United or Chelsea choose to make an offer.

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Schneiderlin, 25, is a more expensive option and the Saints have already proved hard to negotiate with when it comes to their midfield enforcer.

Despite last summer’s exodus, Southampton managed to retain Schneiderlin when Spurs and Arsenal were heavily linked with moves, and Chelsea look set to test their resolve once more.

A bid of around £30 million could be enough to tempt the Saints, especially as the player has said he wants to play Champions League football next season. Cashing in now would be a sensible option, given that the club could reinvest into the squad, as they did so successfully following all of last year’s sales.

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Clyne would rival Branislav Ivanovic for a starting role at right-back with a move to Stamford Bridge, while Schneiderlin could form a frightening partnership with Nemanja Matic in midfield, allowing Cesc Fabregas to play further forward if any deal is agreed.

Mourinho likes to do his summer business early, and with Arsenal and United both interested in the Southampton duo, Chelsea could look to swoop sooner rather than later.

Would Nathaniel Clyne and Morgan Schneiderlin be good signings for Chelsea? Do they need them?