Man City v Newcastle: Pictures
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Manchester City’s reported interest in signing Paul Pogba on a free transfer has sparked no shortage of controversy ahead of the upcoming summer window. Pogba is said to be a target for the defending Premier League champions after turning down the offer of a new deal at Manchester United, with City thought to be keen on snapping him up in advance of next season.
Pep Guardiola is believed to be in the market for a new midfielder to replace Fernandinho, who is set to leave the club at the end of his contract before the start of the new campaign. However, the likes of Graeme Souness and Jamie Carragher have already warned City against launching a move for Pogba as a result of the 29-year-old’s lacklustre form at United.
“I won’t say it defies football logic, because that commodity is in rare supply these days, but such a signing would run counter to the way Pep Guardiola likes to run a football team,” Souness told Sky Sports over the weekend.
“For a start he wants his players ready to put in the hard yards, and the hard yards in the big games when City are up against it. He wants them to have the discipline and selflessness to appreciate their role in the City gameplan and execute accordingly.
“Pogba probably has as much talent if not more than Bernardo Silva or Kevin de Bruyne, but which two of this trio would you rely on most to carry out the manager’s instructions for the full 90? In which of Manchester United’s big games this season has Pogba shown up?”
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Souness’ view on the situation regarding Pogba was echoed by Carragher, who added: “‘I wouldn’t go anywhere near him. You win the league every year, you get 95 to 100 points every year. He doesn’t work hard enough as the other players.
“If Pep could get it out of him, fantastic. There’s no doubt there’s ability, no one has ever doubted it, but when you see the creative players City have, [Phil] Foden, Bernardo Silva. These types of players who are brilliant players and don’t stop running, working from minute one.”
Meanwhile, the likes of Jamie Redknapp and former City defender Micah Richards went on to suggest that Pogba would be a shrewd signing for Guardiola’s men in spite of his United struggles over the last few years.
“There’s a few times I’ve watched games between United and City and he [Guardiola] always goes over to have a bit of dialogue,” said Redknapp. “He obviously respects him as a player, there was talk a few years ago that he might have gone for him.
“No matter what you say about Paul Pogba, it’s a free transfer, high wages of course but that’s not a problem for Man City, you would take him in a heartbeat. He adds a lot to this team and I think he’d be hungry to come and show what he can do.”
Richards added: “‘He does work hard, he’s in a team at Man United where they have no structure. If you look at the way Man City play, they win the ball high up.
“So when we’re talking about working hard, all he needs to do is five or ten yard sprints with the rest of the team. They all go as a team. He would fit into this team.”
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