Paul Pogba is finally a Manchester United player (again). After a summer full of rumors and reports that the midfielder would return to Old Trafford, he's done it, and he's become the most expensive transfer ever in the process. Manchester United clearly wanted him badly -- €110 million badly -- so what does he bring to the Red Devils?
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A central midfielder
Well yes, that is his position, so it's pretty obvious, but consider: Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini was one of the Red Devils favored central midfield partnerships last season. In the year 2016. And they leaned on Bastian Schweinsteiger, who Bayern Munich let go on the cheap and the Red Devils are already sick of. So yes, simply adding a central midfielder is a big deal. That Pogba happens to be one of the best in the world is pretty great too, and just what United need. With him, Morgan Schneiderlin and Ander Herrera, they just might have something. Plus, Carrick will look a lot better next to Pogba.
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Regardless of what you think of Carrick, Schweinsteiger or Herrera, they're not the most mobile of players. And while Fellaini can run plenty, it's usually into people. That leaves Manchester United with Schneiderlin as their only real midfielder with usable range. It's hard to do much of anything in modern soccer, let alone in the Premier League, if you can't cover ground in the midfield and Pogba can do that as well as anyone. He's fast, seemingly never gets tired and, most importantly, is extremely smart about where he goes. United needed to get more mobile in the center of the park and Pogba gives them that.
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Manchester United central midfielders had a grand total of seven assists all of last season and Juan Mata had five of those. Meanwhile, Pogba had 12 all on his own with Juventus. To say Pogba is a huge addition to their midfield creativity would be a massive understatement. The days of a static Manchester United, passing the pass sideways 40 yards from goal without any idea of how to attack are gone. Whether it's short passes, quick interchanges, big diagonals, crosses from wide or even just incisive runs, Pogba will give the midfield a much-needed creative jolt.
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A swallowed ego
Manchester United already had Pogba once before. The midfielder came through their academy and looked to be their next midfield star. But then they let him walk on a free, thinking he was asking for too much money. Well he made them look silly, quickly emerging as one of the world's best and showing that the money he wanted was actually a bargain. It would have been easy for United to stay out of the bidding for Pogba on account of ego, but they swallowed it and made a player who walked for free the most expensive transfer ever, in large part because Jose Mourinho told them to. That humility is probably good for the Red Devils.
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Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward's reign at Manchester United has been filled with attempts to sign the world's best players -- Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, and Thomas Muller among them -- but they weren't able to capture any of them. That a club of Manchester United's stature swung and missed so often was stunning. But this time they took aim at the world's most attractive transfer target in Pogba and they've got him. Maybe it was the influence of Mourinho, but whatever the reason, the Red Devils have finally landed a major superstar like you would expect him one of the world's biggest clubs. They've made a statement -- Manchester United are back.