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Paul Pogba: Why does everyone want him, and why might he not want to leave just yet?

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This summer transfer window has already seen several big names mentioned for possible transfers, but arguably the hottest property at this moment in time resides in Turin, at the Club of Juventus. The player I am talking about is of course Paul Pogba, although his team-mate Arturo Vidal has also been given a fair amount of media attention.

So far the Golden Boy of 2013 reportedly has been worthy of bids of 80 million euros and £71 million, from Barcelona and Manchester City respectively. With Manchester United and Real Madrid also rumoured to be interested in the player. Why is it that everyone wants the midfielder at their club?

Pogba could well be playing in the Catalan colours next season. He faced them in the Champions League Final, ending on the losing side after a 3-1 defeat.

Why does everyone want Paul Pogba?

Known to some simply  as “pogboom” for his explosive playing style, Pogba awareness appears omniscient within a 2-yard radius, with his ability to hold off, juke and outsmart multiple opponents when placed in a seemingly impossible situation. The tighter the space, the more the frenchman’s ability shines through. His ball control and trickery is only paralleled by some of the top wingers in the world, and far exceeds that of most box-to-box midfielders. This allows him to create plenty of time for himself on the ball in the most compact places of a football pitch. His ability to make the opposition’s efforts to dispossess him redundant often leads to him being on the wrong end of his counterparts frustration, but it also makes him one of the most watchable players in Europe.

However it’s not just when the 22-year-old has his back up against the wall that he excels. Given time and space he can produce the spectacular. The second the pitch opens to him he doesn’t panic or rush, but appears to switch to a nonchalant mindset, in which time moves at half the usual speed.  At which point he will either drive forward and continue to burst past opposition players, or alternatively raise his head and look to offload to the likes of Llorente, Tevez and Marchisio. He registered 10 goals and 6 assists last season, and it’s likely that this number will only grow as he continues to develop as a player.

Not only is he technically at a level at which many players in Europe’s top leagues can only dream of, he is also amongst the physical elite. He possesses immense stamina, ferocious strength and surprising agility for a man his size. The wonderkid’s pace is highlighted when he is seen chasing down a lost ball, or an opponent, like a lion with it’s prey. And at 6’ 2” it’s rare that he will be seen being beaten in aerial duels.

Pogba succeeds in combining all these attributes together and can produce moments of magic on a pitch. A player who truly has it all, possibly his only weakness is that his own team-mates can struggle keep up with his chain of thought.

Why may he not want to leave?

Well first of all he’s at Juventus, one of the biggest clubs in European Football. A team who were Champions League Finalists last season. The club has one of the largest global fan bases. Occupies a 41,000 capacity ground. Has won the Serie A title for the last 4 consecutive years, and a record 31 (official) titles overall. Juve’s glorious 117-year-old history has lead to it being known as the ‘Girlfriend of Italy’.

Pogba could stay with a very successful Juventus side, he has won the Scudetto four times since joining Juve.

After the club took him in at just 19-years-old and nurtured him into the player he is today, It’s easy to see why he may still went to stick around for a little while longer yet.

However his reasons to stay may not just lie in his love for the club, but also in his international team interests. If Pogba was to sign for a new club such as Barcelona or Real Madrid, the competition for a place in the starting line-up would step up a notch. Out of fear of not having a guaranteed place week-in, week-out, the 2014 Fifa World Cup Best Young Player will be reluctant to sign on for other clubs. With the UEFA Euro 2016 coming(which is being held in his home nation) he will definitely want to be playing a key role in France’s participation, and will not want to take any risks that could potentially jeopardize his chances of doing so.
Therefore, in conclusion, although I don’t see Paul Pogba leaving Juventus this summer. There is, however, a possibility of a transfer with a season-long loan back length. If not, the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, PSG, and Manchester City may just have to be patient for now.

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Barcelona

Would Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele make Liverpool title contenders?

Jurgen Klopp has expressed his interest in the 20-year-old.

Josh Kerr

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Dembele
Photo: Getty Images

Liverpool should make a move for the La Liga ace Ousmane Dembele if the Barcelona winger becomes available this summer.

Manager Jurgen Klopp spoke of his fondness for the 20-year-old in a press conference yesterday and suggested he may be interested in signing the French international.

In quotes reported by the Daily Mail, Klopp admitted he was interested in the former Borrusia Dortmund forward by saying: “Is he on the market? Now I’m interested.”

Klopp’s interest may not actually lead to the club pursuing Dembele.

However, with a current squad losing bodies by the day following a large number of injuries to crucial players, Dembele would be a perfect addition for the Reds.

Some would argue he even may be capable of challenging Sadio Mane in the club’s starting eleven.

(Photo by Cristina Quicler/Getty Images)

Reports linking the club with Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann could spell concerns to the 20-year-old that he isn’t in Ernesto Valverde’s future plans.

The arrival of Dembele’s fellow countryman will make it significantly more difficult for him to keep his place alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Dembele endured a tough first season for the La Liga champions, which included only nine Primera Division starts due to a long-term hamstring injury.

Understandably, a club as competitive as Barcelona can’t afford to wait around for Dembele to fulfill his outstanding potential and, therefore, a move may make sense.

The world’s third most expensive player certainly has the talent to be one of the brightest stars in the game.

If Liverpool genuinely want him, they will have to fork out a lot more than the initial £96.8 million that Barca paid less than 12 months ago.

Following Barcelona’s drawn-out pursuit of former Reds talisman Philippe Coutinho, the tables could now turn.

This time, it would be Jurgen Klopp’s side testing the Catalan giants resolve in their attempts to pry away a once-prized possession for an astronomical fee.

Dembele was initially considered a panic buy after the departure of Neymar to Paris Saint Germain and the Catalan’s failure to sign Coutinho in the same window.

(Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

Having now captured Coutinho, and with the club being linked with Griezmann, both of whom can slot into Barcelona’s famous front three, it is difficult to see what Dembele’s role in the team will be next season.

At just 20 years of age, the Frenchman is too talented to sit on the bench and with Liverpool proving themselves to be among the best in Europe this season, he could be the perfect player for Klopp to break the bank, to ensure the Reds continuing improving under his control.

With Naby Keita set to join this summer, and considering Virgil van Dijk’s immediate impact, the addition of another top player, in the form of Dembele, could be the move that allows Klopp’s side to seriously contend for the Premier League next season.

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Is Barcelona’s Andre Gomes the man to take West Ham to the next level?

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Photo: Getty Images

This season has been a disappointing one for West Ham as they have once again failed to match the rising expectations of fans and owners after their move to the London Stadium, but there could be hope in the summer with rumours of a sensation signing from Spain.

Barcelona midfielder Andre Gomes is believed to be a target, according to the Mirror, as he looks for a fresh start after a disappointing two years at the Camp Nou.

The former Benfica and Valencia man has struggled to adapt since joining the La Liga leaders and has only been a bit part player this season, with the Hammers ready to make a move to bring him to London.

(Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

There is no doubting that such a signing would be a coup given the quality of Gomes that he so regularly displayed before moving to Catalonia and he could benefit from moving to a club content with fighting for Europe, rather than titles.

The Portugal international relished his role as a leader in attack and the freedom that came with it in the past, so much so that it earned him his big-money move, and a deal taking him to West Ham could see him return to such a role.

David Moyes’ side have been sorely lacking creativity, particularly with Manuel Lanzini out injured and struggling for consistent form, and Gomes could be the man to help lead a charge back up the table next season after a disastrous 2017/18.

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Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona: Three talking points from Stamford Bridge

Rob Meech brings us three talking points as Chelsea held La Liga leaders Barcelona to a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Rob Meech

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Photo: Reuters

Lionel Messi finally broke his goalscoring duck against Chelsea to give Barcelona the edge after the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Messi had failed to score in eight previous attempts against the Blues, but he was not to be denied on this occasion as he cancelled out Willian’s 62nd-minute opener.

A Chelsea clean sheet would have been a massive boost ahead of a daunting trip to the Camp Nou next month.

However, Messi’s equaliser 15 minutes from time means Antonio Conte’s men face an uphill battle to qualify for the quarter-finals of Europe’s showpiece competition.

Here are three talking points from Stamford Bridge…

Conte’s tactical approach so nearly pays dividends

But for the fatal error that led to Messi’s leveller, Chelsea would be heading to Catalonia in three weeks’ time with a one-goal lead to protect.

That they came so close to victory is testament to Conte’s tactical nous, which stifled Barcelona while also allowing the home side to flourish.

As expected, the visitors dominated the ball throughout the encounter. However, they created precious few opportunities as Chelsea’s back line held firm.

Conte had resisted the temptation to start with an out-and-out striker, with Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud both named on the bench.

The fluid movement of Pedro, Eden Hazard and Willian caused more problems than Barcelona have been used to this season and the Blues’ second-half goal was a deserved one.

Heading into the second leg, Conte will need to devise another masterplan if Chelsea are to proceed to the last eight.

Third time lucky for impressive Willian

The tricky Brazilian has by no means been a regular for Chelsea this season.

But he was given the nod against Barcelona in a three-man attack that featured Hazard as a false number nine.

It’s a system Conte has favoured recently, but although it failed to get the best out of Hazard, the same could not be said about Willian.

He was Chelsea’s chief threat and, on another night, could have walked off with the match ball.

Willian twice hit the post in the first-half, showing great skill on each occasion to create space and leave Barca keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen with no chance.

Despite his misfortune, Willian was unbowed and he broke the deadlock with a pinpoint finish that raised the roof at Stamford Bridge.

It was a fitting reward for a top-class performance that highlighted his natural ability.

Surely he can’t be far away from cementing a regular spot in Conte’s starting XI?

Messi ends Chelsea goal drought to have decisive say

It is not often that British football fans get to see the little magician at such close quarters, so each time he arrives on these shores it is to be cherished.

Chelsea had a game-plan to nullify his influence and in the first half this worked superbly.

Although there were the usual sublime touches that we have come to expect, Messi was largely shackled by a solid rearguard display from Chelsea’s three-man central defence.

However, it only takes a side to switch off for a moment for the Argentinian to flex his muscles.

A misplaced pass from Andreas Christensen was intercepted by Andres Iniesta, whose pull back enabled Messi to slide the ball past Thibaut Courtois.

Once the ball had arrived to him in the box, there was no doubting where it would nestle.

Messi’s exuberant celebrations underlined the importance of his equaliser in the context of the tie.

It could be the decisive moment.

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