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MATA BETTER THAN POGBA


If a weeks a long time in politics, it’s even longer football. With Madrid, United and the European championships at the feet of 23 year old French midfielder Paul Pogba, he was above reproach. But Footballs a fickle game, and after a no show in the defeat to Portugal in UEFAs showpiece, what was once a bargain at 100m, deserves a little due diligence.

Paul Pogba’s rise  is well known. Denied by Alex Ferguson and the only party not to benefit from Paul Scholes last hurrah he moved to Turin. From there he has become one of the world’s most sought after stars turning in dazzling displays with goals and assists galore.

Surely just a matter of time before the heavyweights of Europe came calling. The saying goes that the games not played on paper, but statistics are printed on it and Pogba could be the answer to a question that no one at United is asking.

In Pogba United would be getting a dynamic box to box midfielder who contributes in every area. Paul found the target with 37% of his strikes last season. However in 35 appearances in 2015/16 Juan Mata eclipsed his tally with 58% of his strikes hitting the target. Add to that the fact Pogba found the net 8 times in the league to Matas 6, it’s difficult to see substance in the price tag.

Another line taken, is that during his time away from Manchester he has evolved in a magnificent passer. He finished last season with 83% pass completion, with the average ball travelling an impressive 17 metres showing command of both the short, and Hollywood pass. Outstanding, but the soon to be overlooked Mata trumps Paul again at 89% and with a negligible difference in distance at 16 metres.

The game is judged on these numbers, countless statistics about distance covered, interceptions made and how many rolls a player performs after a glancing tackle.If Paul Pogba is the 100million Euros benchmark Juan Mata is alongside him of that there is no doubt.

A telling indictment of the valuation of today’s players, as much as it is a revelation of the effectiveness of the Spaniard? Maybe United would be better served by a handshake between Mata and Mourinho, instead of a rather large check in the post to Juventus.

Manchester United’s start to recruitment under Mourinho has been inspired, bringing in proven goals for free with Ibrahomivic and one of Europe’s leading providers in Mhkitaryan. However, United’s 800k mistake in 2011 has the potential to wipe out those shoots of green and become a 100millon Euro bust.

 

About Scott Oliver

Graduated journalist - Former golfer - Features are better than my short game

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