There have been many debates in the Manchester United fanbase in recent weeks, but one which seems to have quietened down is Paul Pogba.
The 28-year-old has only recently returned to the starting line-up after recovering from an ankle injury he picked up on international duty in December 2021.
Since his return, he’s made an instant impact and already bagged a goal and assist from the heart of midfield. No one can doubt his importance in making United tick but still, there remains a huge question mark over his future.
The MEN understands that United are still planning for Pogba to leave in the summer as he approaches the last four months of his contract.
Sources close to Pogba have suggested there is still no inclination for the midfielder to commit to United at the eleventh hour and his situation remains unchanged, despite a positive start under interim manager, Ralf Rangnick.
The situation with his future has led many supporters to conclude that Pogba’s time at United is up and it would be best, in the interest of all parties, that he leaves.
No one can doubt the underlying talent Pogba has. The issue is that we haven’t seen it frequently enough at United and while he’ll undoubtedly be a big miss, there are other options the club could pursue.
At the same time, United supporters are realistic. They know it’s highly unlikely the club will go for two expensive midfielders in one summer. Rather, they may look to pounce on an opportunity that’s too good to turn down.
It appears one of those opportunities may have arrived at Leicester City, who have the perfect Pogba replacement.
That person is Youri Tielemans, who United were linked with in the past before he made his move to the King Power Stadium permanently.
The 24-year-old, valued at £49.5 million by Transfermarkt, is at the perfect age to come in and make a difference to a United team who need the average age of their squad lowered.
A midfield maestro from Belgium, Tielemans has been outstanding since joining the Foxes. He’s played a key role in helping his side regularly compete for a spot in the UEFA Champions League, plus scored an outstanding goal to win Brendan Rodgers the FA Cup last season against Chelsea.
Tielemans is reported to have decided against signing a new contract at Leicester, meaning he’ll have 12 months remaining on his contract by the time the summer transfer window opens.
This means that United could find their Pogba replacement at a cut-price fee and the statistics show that he might even be more of an attacking threat than the Frenchman.
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As per FBref.com, Tielemans has more than double the amount of goals Pogba has this season (six compared to two), while averaging a higher expected goals (xG) tally (3.9 compared to 2.2).
On top of that, Tielemans has a higher shot on target average per 90 (0.55 compared to 0.54) while taking a fewer amount of shots (2.2 compared to 2.71), showing he’s better at converting than the Frenchman.
The Belgium international also has a higher successful pressure percentage per 90 (31.4% to 31%), plus more tackles and interceptions per game (3.56 to 3.15) than Pogba, so United might be able to find a long-term solution to the world -Cup winner’s potential departure at an affordable price.
It’ll be interesting to see whether United make a move because if they do, they’ll be widely praised.
Would Tielemans be the perfect Pogba replacement? Follow our United On My Mind writers Omar Garrick on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below.