‘Paul The Octopus’
A quality box-to-box midfielder is often the driving force behind a successful football team. He must be a complete player in how he attacks and how he defends. In this Namaqua feature, we look at players both past and present who have enjoyed success in this role…
This week’s focus is on Juventus midfielder, Paul Pogba.
A new Yaya Toure is emerging
He is said to be the only player in Europe that a powerhouse like Yaya Toure should fear in a battle. In fact, whispers are turning into shouts from Turin that Paul Pogba is an even better player than the great Ivorian. Nicknamed ‘Paul the Octopus’ by the adoring Juventus fans for his gangly legs and loping running style, Pogba is by far the most wanted young central midfielder on the planet. At the age of just 21, he is already the complete package. Even Arsenal legend Patrick Viera, a player who is widely regarded as arguably the greatest box-to-box midfielder of modern times, concedes that technically the Frenchman is more talented than he ever was. His long limbs give him the ability to cover ground effortlessly when fulfilling his defensive duties, and in possession of the ball he is simply majestic.
Awarded the Best Young Player gong at the 2014 World Cup, the superlatives to describe his game suggest a truly world-class box-to-box playmaker on the rise. He is powerful, skilful and creative. As well as being destructive in the tackle and possessing an exhaustive work rate, Pogba has an eye for goal and penchant for the spectacular. His blend of brute strength and sinewy skill are making the football world sit up and take notice. With Chelsea reportedly tabling a £40 million offer to bring Pogba to Stamford Bridge this English summer, it appears a new Yaya Toure is on the rise – a scary thought for those who will cross his path in the future!
Man United knew he was special from day one!
Word travels fast when a truly special talent comes to light in European football circles. It was 2009 and Manchester United scouts knew immediately that a skinny teenager within Le Havre’s youth academy in France was going to be a global superstar. They knew he was special, right from day one! Acting on the decisive orders of Alex Ferguson, the same man who poached a young Cristiano Ronaldo from Sporting in Portugal before anyone else could react, a huge offer was made to Pogba. A sum said to be in the region of £87,000 was handed over and a house was bought for his family. He was soon a Red Devil, but despite his obvious talent as one of the top central midfield prospects in world football, he would only make three appearances for United.
After forcing his way out of Old Trafford to join Juventus due to a lack of first team opportunities, it has been in Italy where the box-to-box maestro has truly blossomed. He has been the mainstay and driving force from midfield, and has helped the Old Lady to two Serie A titles in three seasons. Still 21 and with new challenges yet to take on, there seems to be little standing in his way. Not even Yaya Toure...