Paul Pogba’s name has long been synonymous with flair, skill, and moments of footballing genius. From the heights of Juventus to the glamour of Manchester United, he’s worn the shirts of giants and danced with them on Europe’s biggest stages. However, recent revelations have cast a shadow on this titan of the game.
Reports emerged post the Udinese clash, identifying Pogba as the player who tested positive in a random doping test. Pogba’s agent, Rafaela Pimenta, was quick to come to his defence, stressing his integrity and stated that he Rafaela Pimenta broke her silence on the situation on Tuesday. In a released statement, she said: “We are waiting for the counter analysis and until then we can’t say anything. The certain thing is that Paul Pogba never wanted to break the rules”. But with the B sample results pending and Juventus considering a termination of his contract, the looming clouds grow darker by the day.
Pogba faces another significant setback in his career: a provisional suspension due to the anti-doping offence. Allegedly, the Frenchman consumed nutritional supplements containing testosterone, something he claims to have done in ignorance.
ESPN cites Pogba’s sources for these supplements as being from a doctor-friend based in Miami, products obtainable in the States but not Italy. With a potential four-year ban on the horizon, and Juventus contemplating cutting ties, the scenario looks grim for a player whose second stint in Turin has already seen its share of turbulence
To say Pogba’s return to Juventus was triumphant would be a bit of a stretch. Since signing for Manchester United for £89 million in 2016, his stock has undoubtedly fallen. His initial spell with Juve was filled with four Serie A titles and two Coppa Italia wins, but since returning from Manchester to Turin he has found the second chapter of his Italian tale marred with knee issues.
Delayed re-debuts, disciplinary clashes with Allegri after turning up late to a team dinner, and a string of injuries kept him from reaching his full potential. Rumours abound of a move to the Saudi Pro League this summer, but alas, Pogba remains a Juventus player, albeit one with an uncertain future.
As the January transfer window looms, Juventus might be eyeing alternatives. The departure of a player of Pogba’s calibre necessitates an equally talented replacement. The transfer window may be shut, but the bookmakers of this world are already predicting who can fill Pogba’s void, should he leave. Legal betting sites in India have started to collate a list of potential favourites that could be on their way to Turin, but obviously this is all just speculation, it’s anyone’s guess who or what will come to Juve at the next transfer window. All we know is, there is talent to bet on out there!
Thomas Partey from Arsenal: Arsenal seems willing to part with their Ghanaian midfielder. Partey brings Premier League experience and solid midfield tenacity. The Ghanaian is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury but it is hoped that he will be back in action in around a month. He started Arsenal’s first three Premier League games this season, despite playing as an unorthodox make-shift right back.
Khephren Thuram from Nice: Juventus’ Giuntoli has expressed interest in this young talent. Thuram’s potential fee might be a stumbling block, but his upside is undeniable. Juventus’ sporting director, Cristiano Giuntoli, appears to have a keen interest in Thuram. However, the 22-year-old French midfielder might be the priciest player on their radar. Reports suggest that the Italian club might need to part with approximately €35 million to secure Thuram’s signature.
Manu Kone from Borussia Monchengladbach: After transferring to Germany in the January transfer window for an estimated €8m, Kone has been outstanding for Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga. He has cemented his place in the starting eleven and consistently showcases his skills. Once linked with AC Milan, Kone’s rise in the Bundesliga hasn’t gone unnoticed. His agility and sharpness could be a welcome addition to the Old Lady.
Habib Diarra from Strasbourg: A Tuttomercatoweb report suggests that Strasbourg’s Habib Diarra is the most likely candidate to replace Pogba at Juventus. It’s important to highlight that Juventus had shown interest in Diarra during the summer transfers. A possible suspension for Pogba might fast-track Diarra’s move to the club. A rising star and not the finished product no doubt, but Wolfsburg’s interest might ignite a bidding war Juventus would be keen to win.
Abdoulaye Kamara from Borussia Dortmund: A long-term investment. Kamara is one for the future, perhaps not an immediate Pogba replacement, but one with bags of potential. A report by Il Bianconero indicates that Juventus is keeping a close eye on Kamara as he represents Borussia Dortmund’s B team.
Juventus sees Kamara as a promising addition to their Next Gen team and someone who could play a significant role in the club’s future vision. The suggestion is that Juventus will probably make an offer for Kamara down the line, given their dedication to roping in top young European talents.
Lazar Samardzic from Udinese: Despite a failed move to Internazionale, Samardzic’s abilities are unquestionable. A blend of technical prowess and physical dominance could see him slot in perfectly at Juventus. Again, at just 21 years old, Juve could see him as a potential ‘one to watch’.
Paul Pogba’s boots are indeed massive ones to fill. His impact at Juventus, both in his scintillating first spell and the troubled second, remains significant. The real question is: can any of these potential midfield maestros replace not just the player, but the character, the charm, the essence of Pogba?
For Juventus and their fans, the future beckons with promise and hope, even as they potentially bid adieu to one of their most enigmatic talents. But in the footballing world, as the old adage goes, the show must go on.