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Paul Pogba has at times received some rare criticism this season and might reflect on a mixed campaign, although that would only be by the very high standards he has set over the past couple of years in Turin.
At 23, he remains unquestionably one of world football’s elite young players and if there is any doubt about his world class billing he could cement them this summer by leading France to Euro 2016 glory.
Over the past few weeks, there have been signs that Pogba is getting back to his very best. He was an inspired figure as Juve raced into a shock 2-0 lead at the Allianz Arena in the Champions League and although that match ended in disappointment he put in a ‘man of the match’ display scoring once and creating a further two goals as Juventus won the Turin derby 4-1 the following weekend.
Time to let go of the handbrake
His form since the turn of the year has been overall very good, but it’s certainly true that he took some time to get going this season. He was curiously out of sorts during the early weeks of the campaign and without their talisman at his best Juventus struggled, languishing in the bottom half of Serie A during the first couple of months, an almost unthinkable position for a side that has dominated this league in recent times.
Pogba still found something deep inside to rise to the occasion in the big games though, something which can be viewed as infuriating or as the hallmark of great player depending on your perspective.
His best early season performances included a dominant showing in the Champions League at Man City and a key role in the first meeting with Torino when Juve grabbed a late winner in a game that can certainly be looked back on as a turning point in both his and his club’s season.
Rise in form
Since that match Juve have won 18 of their 19 Serie A matches to soar up the table and assume a three point lead on Napoli in second. Pogba has been much more consistent since too and has shown why he has been linked with moves to almost every major club in Europe.
He is contracted to Juventus until 2019 but their patience will surely be tested should they receive an offer close to the €100 million that saw Gareth Bale move to Real Madrid for a world record fee three seasons ago.
If he continues his current form and shines for France in Euro 2016, he could really cement himself as the best central midfielder in world football right now and that could lead to a bidding war between the best or at least richest European clubs who would all love to have Pogba in their team.
Juventus will be hopeful they can hold onto him for another few years though as when Pogba isn’t at his best it seems to have a negative effect on the whole team and he has been integral to almost all of their best performances this season and losing him would be a bitter pill to swallow no matter how much money it brought in.
In the short-term they have plenty to occupy their minds though and another summer of wondering whether Pogba will stay or go can wait a while. Although Juve’s Champions League exit was a blow, they still have the Serie A title and Coppa Italia to play for and if it is to be Pogba’s final year in Turin, it could still be another very successful one.
Written by Mark Sochon
Follow Mark on Twitter @tikitakagol
Check out his brilliant blog on all things La Liga, Tiki-Taka-Gol!
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