After weeks of speculation, the biggest transfer in the history of football is complete. Paul Pogba is back at Manchester United after four years away, in a world record deal worth £93 million, a move that could spell the end of Wayne Rooney’s time as an automatic selection at Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho has made his intentions clear since being named United manager in June. The signing of Pogba, added to that the additions of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, shows Mourinho’s desire to bring more attacking talent into his squad.
The signing of Pogba does leave United with some dilemmas when it comes to team selection. Wayne Rooney’s place in the team for both club and country has been questioned of late, and he may have to be left out so to get the best out of the Frenchman.
At Chelsea, and in the Community Shield on Sunday, Mourinho deployed a 4-2-3-1 formation. Given that the Portuguese manager has already said Rooney will not be playing in the centre of midfield, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic is almost certain to start up front, it seems Rooney will only play in the number 10 role behind the striker.
This leaves Mourinho with a bit of a problem, because Pogba’s best position is in that number 10 role. He is capable of playing in the two holding players in front of the defence, but he will not be at his best there, and won’t have the influence on games that he should be given his price tag.
Though the change will mean that Mourinho loses his captain, it is certainly one he should consider making. Pogba is not yet the finished article and will improve into a top player if he is given the opportunity, while it can be argued that Rooney has been on the decline for a number of years.
Rooney does still have something to offer Manchester United, but there are players more talented and more suitable in his positions, and he might have to get used to another role in the side. United must build their side around Pogba, and that means the England captain will have to miss out.