History-making Pogba shows why Man Utd need to give him a new deal

Robin Bairner
Paul Pogba celebrates with Man Utd team-mate Bruno Fernandes during a 5-1 win over Leeds

Man Utd began their Premier League campaign in sparkling form as they easily dispatched Leeds United 5-1, and it was Paul Pogba who stole the show at Old Trafford.

Raphael Varane was introduced to the Old Trafford crowd by way of a raucous pre-match introduction and fellow summer signing Jadon Sancho made his bow off the bench, but by full-time Pogba was once again the major transfer talking point.

He became the first Manchester United player to contribute four assists in a single Premier League match and just the seventh player ever to do so.

Out of contract in the summer of 2022, there is apparently no new deal on the horizon for the World Cup winner, who continues to be closely followed by Paris Saint-Germain.

Indeed, Pogba, who returned to Man Utd in 2016 for a world-record fee, has been a player who has rarely lived up to that billing.

With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer favouring a 4-2-3-1 formation and Bruno Fernandes sparkling in the No.10 role for the Old Trafford side, space appeared limited for Pogba. Questions were asked whether the two were even compatible in the same team.

Pogba destroys Leeds

Against an accommodating Leeds side, it was emphatically confirmed that the pair can not only operate successfully, but positively thrive.

Bruno grabbed his first Manchester United hat-trick, but it was arguably Pogba’s quartet of assists that was more impressive. Given freedom to operate in an attacking role on the left of the midfield, he was liberated to show the full depth of his talent.

Of course, there were early concerns. Pogba squandered a one-on-one chance early in the first half, with his flourish of a stepover apparently detracting from the quality of his finish, which landed wide.

The same old Pogba, then? Absolutely not.

Indeed, the season may only have been 55 minutes old for the Red Devils, but the Old Trafford crowd witnessed perhaps the pass of the campaign as Pogba picked out Mason Greenwood brilliantly for the forward to speed through and covert immediately after Leeds had levelled.

Earlier, he had displayed his vision with a lovely pass round the corner to set up Bruno for the opener, then the pair combined again for United’s third.

Pogba’s quartet of assists – one more than he made in the whole of last season – was completed when he crossed for Fred to stroke a fifth and a matter of minutes later he was replaced.

This mouth-watering display was a statement of intent from Pogba. He showed amply that he has a future at Manchester United and it is now up to the Red Devils to ensure that he stays at Old Trafford.