A feature on Paul and Mathias Pogba following their respective summer transfers.
Mathias and Paul Pogba have a lot in common. Both are professional footballers and both players engineered moves during the summer that left their respective former managers questioning their attitude and accusing both of not showing respect to their former clubs. The choice of words from Sir Alex Ferguson as Paul Pogba departed Manchester United for Juventus were echoed by Andy Morrell as Mathias Pogba switched from Wrexham to Crewe Alexandra, both managers were left disappointed by the manner of each players exit, for Morrell it was disrespect but for Sir Alex it was no respect. Both players now have respective new managers to impress at two contrasting levels of the game, and as their former clubs move forward without them, it appears only a matter of time before the French-Guinian’s cause more disruption.
Paul Pogba is the highest-profile of the duo. A prodigious young talent at Manchester United, controversy surrounding Pogba began at a young age when Manchester United tempted the 16-year old to Old Trafford from Le Havre in a transfer that caused a legal storm between the two clubs and FIFA in 2009. Pogba would make more headlines for his efforts on the field however, and while he made only seven senior appearances in total during his three years at the club, his performances for the clubs reserve team were evidence that the controversy surrounding his transfer had not been in vain. However, his initial contract came to and end during the summer, and despite the offering of an improved new deal Pogba decided that his footballing future would be in Turin and he completed the move to Italian giants Juventus by signing a four year deal in August.
But that only describes the hard facts of the transfer. “Pogba signed for Juventus a long time ago as far as we’re aware,” said a furious Ferguson in July before the youngster had even officially completed his Italian switch. “It’s a bit disappointing because I don’t think he showed us any respect at all. To be honest, if they carry on that way, I’m quite happy that he’s away from me anyway.” Hard words from a hard man, and for all his obvious talent and potential, it appears Paul Pogba will not be returning to Old Trafford while the wily old Glaswegian is still in charge. Many players have fallen foul of Ferguson over the years, but Pogba has sparked a rare public reaction that only emphasises the strength of feeling the Scot has on this issue.
With affairs at the top of the Premier League covered, attentions now turn to the Blue Square Premier and older Pogba brother Mathias. A familiar figure at Wrexham, Mathias Pogba’s efforts last season brought a return of twelve goals and the clubs Young Player of the Year award. A popular and powerful figure during the course of the clubs promotion challenge, Pogba was seen as a key player for manager Andy Morrell as the club look to move on from last seasons eventual disappointment, but Morrell has been left disappointed as the striker looks to make his mark in the Football League with a different club following his transfer to Crewe Alexandra. Like younger brother Paul however, the transfer made the headlines for all the wrong reasons, and Morrell was pushed to make similar accusations about the wayward prodigy as his Manchester United counterpart.
“I’m just disappointed in the lack of respect for the club more than anything,” said a typically calm Morrell when the move was confirmed. “He’s had the summer to think about it and has decided his future lies elsewhere, he wanted to play in a higher league. I felt that he needed at least another 12 months to bring him on again from where he was. At the start of last season until now he’s progressed really nicely and I thought he would have done the same again. I’m just disappointed with the way he’s acted, he hasn’t kept contact and telling me what his thoughts are.” Although less cutting in expressing his views than Ferguson, Morrell showed a similar and clear disappointment in the attitude and lack of respect shown by the player, more than the disappointment of losing a talented player from his squad.
But Morrell has acted quickly to fill the void left by the 21-year-old and has replaced Mathias Pogba with a player at the opposite end of his football career. Wrexham made football headlines last month with the signing of former Blackpool striker Brett Ormerod, and the veteran forward has the potential to make a significant impact in the Blue Square Premier this season, as Wrexham look to make a now overdue return to the Football League. By comparison, Paul Pogba has left Manchester United without establishing himself in the team and the disappointment of his departure is based upon his potential more than his performances to date. Neither club is likely to suffer due to the controversial exits of the respective Pogba brothers, but the attitudes of the talented duo have been publicly questioned, and when a respected figure such as Sir Alex Ferguson makes such a statement it will stay with the player in question throughout his career.
However, there is some salvation for the Pogba family. In the little-known French commune of Sedan, Florentin Pogba plays for Ligue 2 club CS Sedan Ardennes. The third of the Pogba brothers, Florentin began his career in Spain as a youth player with Celta Vigo before returning to France in 2009. The defender helped his side to a fourth placed finish last season but notably did it without any hint of controversy. At 21, Florentin is the twin brother of Mathias, and was loosely linked with a possible move to Premier League side Fulham during the summer, but remains in the backwaters of Ligue 2 for the time being. Florentin Pogba has made the occasional local headline with his performances for CS Sedan for the right reasons over the last two years, and while his more talented brothers make headlines for all the wrong reasons, Florentin will be more will remain more than happy to take a back seat in the family business of professional football.
This blog was also featured in the official match programme of Wrexham FC for the Blue Square Premier match against Woking on Saturday, 11th August 2012.