Would Man City be wise to sign Paul Pogba for free? Jamie Redknapp called the deal “no brainer”, but Jamie Carragher said he “wouldn’t come close to it”.
The World Cup winner is out of contract with Manchester United this summer and is set to leave the club, marking the end of six turbulent years at Old Trafford since they made him the world’s most expensive player.
Pogba has received criticism for his performances at United in recent years, but he was also courted by some of Europe’s biggest clubs at the time – and it is now understood that City are keen to make him the latest player to cross Manchester’s division.
The 29-year-old has divided opinion throughout his career at the club and has continued to do so in super sunday studio like the Sky Sports experts debated whether he would be a good signing for Premier League leaders.
The business case…
Jamie Redknapp said the signing of Pogba would be “an incredible move” for City and could provide extra motivation for Pogba to fight back against the criticism he received while playing for United – their arch-rivals.
He said: “It would be an incredible move and one that, to be honest, I didn’t expect. But you have to evaluate it; it’s a free transfer, he’ll have a point to prove because he took a lot of dick while he was at Manchester United.
“I always watched Pep Guardiola in games between United and City, and he was always looking for him and talking to him. He obviously respects him as a player.
“A couple of years ago there were rumors that he could go for it. A player of his quality, no matter what you say about him, like a free transfer – high salaries, of course, but that’s not a problem for Manchester United. City – you take it in a snap.
“He adds a lot to this team and I think he would be hungry to come and show what he can do. He lives in the area, it would be an incredible move, a brave move, but I would love to see that in the Premier League. sense.”
Redknapp and former Manchester City defender Micah Richards admitted that Pogba would have to increase his rate of work to fit into the Etihad, but both agreed that he would excel in the Premier League champions’ environment.
“He will have to be completely different from the player we saw at United, that’s a fact,” said Redknapp. “He’ll have to play a lot more like he plays for France, but he’s not the only one at United.
“Right now, you wouldn’t buy a player there, so they can’t be that bad. But as a free transfer, you’re getting someone who will be desperate to do well.
“I think it’s a no-brainer. He scores goals and adds a lot to the team, when you also consider that you’re going to lose Fernandinho this summer.”
Richards added: “If he came to Man City, he would work hard. If we’re talking about working hard, if you look at the way Man City play, they win the ball high, so if we’re talking about working hard, he just needs to do five or 10 yard sprints with the rest of the team. They all go as a team. I would take him.”
The case against the deal…
Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher also pointed to Pogba’s work rate as a factor in any City move, but said his attitude problems meant Guardiola should avoid adding the Frenchman’s undoubted technical ability to his squad.
“I wouldn’t go near him,” he argued. “You win the league every year, you get 95 to 100 points every year, but Paul Pogba doesn’t work hard enough or as hard as these other City players.
“Pep might be able to take that away from him, and there’s no doubt he has skill, but when you look at the other creative players on the City team – Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva – they’re brilliant players who don’t stop running and don’t stop. to work from minute one to minute 90.
“That’s what makes Man City what they are. They’re a great team, a brilliant manager with great individuals… I’m not doubting his quality, but he doesn’t work hard enough. If anyone says he gives 100 percent in every game, that’s a lie.”
Carragher was asked that Guardiola’s high demands as manager would be enough to motivate Pogba to reach the levels he has playing for France, with whom he won the World Cup in 2018, but the former Liverpool defender was still not convinced of that. level of commitment would be sufficient for the relentless nature of City’s locker room.
He said, “It’s a big problem for me if it’s up to the coach whether a player works hard. If the coach is demanding it of you, it’s because you’re not working hard enough. I can’t understand it. I played for about five or six managers at Liverpool and it didn’t matter who the manager was in terms of commitment every week.
“Paul Pogba, whether in France or Manchester United, shows unbelievable quality and does special things at different times, but it’s been about six years or how long he’s been at United and we’re still talking about his best position and who can get the best of him.”