After three overwhelming years in Old Trafford, it seems that Paul Pogba is finally heading for the exit door. While the club made noises to keep it, the midfielder is expected to make a move before the end of the transfer window.
Juventus and PSG are interconnected, but the rumors that he's on his way to Real Madrid are hard to ignore.
Zinedine Zidane is building a new team at the Bernabeu and is a big fan of his compatriot. Although the money is a bit tight after the last purchase spree, you feel that they will bring up the finances to accomplish this when the opportunity presents itself.
While Pogba was flattered to deceive much of his time in the Premier League, could moving to Los Blancos be the perfect way to revive what has become his star? Could be.
So how would Pogba go with Real Madrid? On the surface it looks pretty good. Of course, there are long standing questions about his attitude and application, but on the tactical level, this is a team that should enable him to develop.
After spending the last three seasons listening to analysts say that Pogba was repeatedly knocked out of position at United, he should finally be able to play a role that fits him at Real Madrid.
While he has demonstrated the flexibility of setting up different formations, Zinedine Zidane usually prefers a 4-3-3 formation. It worked perfectly right from the start of its first outing as Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale stepped in from the wide positions to leave plenty of room for the full back.
The following video shows the lineup and Madrid's pattern in the Frenchman's first game earlier this year.
It was sometimes difficult in the past season, but much of it can benefit the staff that was available to him. Eden Hazard will be an important improvement for the left wing, while Vinícius Júnior missed the closing stages of the season due to injury.
Assuming everyone is available, one would expect the crew to look something like this next season.
This grid is very flexible. Marcelo is not easily displaced from the left back space, although his form was miserable at times last season. Navas could also start on Courtois, where the jersey number one is still very much to win.
The midfield question is interesting. Luka Modrić turns 34 later this year and has shown serious signs of a decline over the last nine months. In the coming season, he will probably have less playing time, and he has also indicated that he would like to leave the Bernabeu.
Against a lesser opposition, you could certainly see how he started and played Kroos in the lead role.
Luka Jovic is likely to be slow, and as Benzema may have had his best season in a Madrid jersey last year, he should stay in the striker zone for the time being.
This leaves Pogba with the left-back midfield position he had for both Juventus and France.
Unlike United, he is not asked to start attacks from deep or to set the pace of the game. Instead, he may choose his moments to spread some magic, a task that fits far better with his abilities.
If Madrid's full-backs are in possession, they will account for much of the team's breadth. Hazard and Vinicius drift into the infield to give them plenty of room to work while Benzema drops a little lower to pick up the interior forward.
When the ball is on its side of the field, Pogba drifts out and gives support to the left back.
Casemiro will stay too low to protect himself from the counter-attack, with the center-back pair keeping a high line.
In times of lasting ownership, the Madrid team will interpret such things.
In this scenario, Pogba could prosper well in the team.
Despite their poor form last season, Madrid scored the third-highest possession rate in the league on average. They dominate the ball, especially against the smaller teams in the division.
It is interesting what they do with this property. While Barcelona tries to overcome the opposition to death by repeatedly putting them out of position with a short pass, Zidane's teams are much more straightforward.
Averaged Real Madrid 20 crosses per game In the last season by far the most teams in the top six. While the winger drift in the infield, the responsibility for dropping the ball into the penalty area falls elsewhere.
Full back contributed, but it was the midfielders who did the lion's share of the job. Toni Kroos, who worked mainly in the left midfield that would take Pogba, was on average by far the most crosses in the team.
Madrid tends to cross the ball from the corner of the box to the far post, which means the midfielder is often best positioned for it.
As mentioned in the previous video, long passes to switch the game are also an important tactic. This provides more space to position these crosses and also shifts the defense out of position. Again, it was Kroos, who on average scored the longest passes in the team, with 7.8 per game,
Pogba would thrive in this role. If he can do one good, it is that the raking goes across the field.
– Manchester United (@ManUtds_News) November 17, 2016
This passport by Paul Pogba is crazy pic.twitter.com/w9YB3aqdBo
– Half-Space (@SpaceHalf) 3 June 2019
Review of Pogba's master class in the World Cup final. Sensational pass to start the attack and then finish it by shooting a stunner with his weaker foot. Generation talent. pic.twitter.com/P5JLxIq4iy
– RiZzy🔴 (@RiZzyUTD) June 17, 2019
To play in this advanced role would be a big part of Pogba's responsibility to play two types of passports.
Just as in the last clip of the World Cup, Pogba is asked to play crucial passes and shoot from the edge of the box.
For a player who has taken on average Almost twice as many (three) strokes per game He should have no problem with playing in a team that has it by far the most far-reaching shots in La Liga in 2018/19.
Looking back at Pogba's crazy goal against Udinese 😱💥 pic.twitter.com/LlCkTJlZiB
– Football transfers (@FootbalIStuff) March 20, 2019
If the ball is on the right flank, the Frenchman has the opportunity to enter the penalty area and attack the ball. His size and athleticism make him a major threat in the air, and he has proven his ability to use such scenarios in the past.
Take a look at this goal against Manchester City as a prime example.
If Pogba moves to the La Liga, you can expect him to play crucial runs like this on a regular basis. You should see that its goal is achieved from the beginning to grow as a result.
All this is of course a guess. Pogba is not allowed to move to Real Madrid. Even if he does so, there is no guarantee that he will produce at a level deemed acceptable by the notoriously volatile Bernabeu crowd.
From a tactical point of view, however, this Madrid team seems perfectly positioned to make Pogba a success. Maybe we'll finally see the star player who should be in Manchester 2016.
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