The summer is a time when almost all football activity ceases at the club level. Friendlies don’t do a lot in terms of providing respite from the drought of League football. The summer also brings with it the Silly Season. The season of rumours that precedes any and all transfer, big or small. If it culminates into reality, this summer’s biggest transfer would undoubtedly be of Paul Pogba.
Paul Pogba is a player who can bring a new dimension to any team, take them to a new level. He is the supreme destructor but also the artistic creator. His ability was well illustrated as he took Juventus to the Champions League final after driving the Old Lady to another Serie-A title.
As is the case with any player who is performing at high levels every week, Pogba was linked to Chelsea. As a central midfielder, he is quite a prospect. Besides, his hate for Manchester United also qualifies him for a berth in Mourinho’s squad next season. The only thing that holds Mourinho and Chelsea is the transfer value that Juventus have slapped on the midfielder. Chelsea are committed to sustainable operations and operate on a profitable mentality.
A recent CIES report has been able to evaluate the Frenchman’s transfer value for the summer window. Curiously, it ranks Raheem Sterling ahead of the Juventus midfielder. Nonetheless, his transfer value, as estimated in the report, at close to €75 million is enough to keep Mourinho and Co. from bidding. Juventus have taken bag loads of money from the Champions League and are thus ever less likely to sell. So the probabilities of the transfer to Chelsea are very unlikely.
Monetary considerations aside, Chelsea may not necessarily need Pogba, certainly not at such a price. Maybe somewhere, the next Kurt Zouma of midfielders is waiting to be found by Mourinho. That does not mean Chelsea should not pursue a midfielder who competes with Fabregas and Matic for a starting spot, it just means that Pogba is not a necessity for that role. There are cheaper options in the market, and Mourinho knows that better than most.
Now that it is clear that we don’t need to splash a fortune on the French midfielder, let’s have more reasons for the same.
They say the numbers don’t lie. Fabregas was brought for around £27 million last summer. The need of the hour is to bring a player in a similar price bracket and some different traits compared to the Spanish maestro. Having led the assist charts all season, and lifting the Premier League for the first time would have given Fabregas enough motivation to dig for more. However, it is not possible for him to play every match, especially if Chelsea are to go deep in the Champions League and the FA Cup.
A more holding kind of player is needed, which Pogba, of course would fill with oomph. But the constraints are already clear. Besides, Fabregas does best what he does. There are no better like for like players available in the market. Variation and differentiation are important as well, especially against more physical sides.
As for the numbers, Fabregas manages to beat Pogba to the number of chances created per game by more than one. Simply put, Fabregas creates almost double the chances as Pogba for every game the duo play.
Fabregas is a better passer of the ball as well. He beats the Juventus midfielder by a country mile. Pogba makes 38.62 passes per game, a good number without a doubt. Fabregas, however, is in a class of his own in this stat as well. Making 66 passes in every game is no mean feat and thus the Spaniard comes out the better if Chelsea are to play the pressing and passing game. But they don’t and can’t play it all the time. Do they? Again, the need for differentiation is evident.
Of all the duels that he is involved in, Fabregas wins 47% of the time. The rest of the time, the ball is lost and this is where Matic comes in. However, Pogba manages a better percentage of duels won, with 55% of them going in his favour. He may be the type of player that Chelsea need, but he isn’t the answer unless the finances allow such spending.
In terms of passes played forward, Fabregas is the master of unlocking defences. Tight spaces are no problem for the skilled World Cup winner. No matter what his position is, Fabregas can always thread a ball through to someone like Diego Costa. He does this more than 50 times in a match, or at least attempts to. Pogba is more of midfield man in this regard, keeping the ball where he is. The point being that he isn’t inferior to Fabregas, just different.
Chelsea play a varying number of games, against several different type of opposition. Their style of play varies too. This is why Pogba could be the perfect man to complement Fabregas in his absence. Without losing the vitality, Chelsea could be more imposing in the midfield with Pogba. Teams that rely on Physical strength to stifle Chelsea midfielders (not Matic), would have to face the duo of Matic and Pogba, and would run frightened for a week or two. But reason suggests it is not meant to be that way. Chelsea needs a Pogba kind of player to thrive in England and Europe simultaneously but have to achieve it without the obvious candidate for the job.
Mourinho needs to uncover another star. It is high time Chelsea went for it all once again in Europe. With Pogba, or without him. Because in Mourinho we trust.
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