The Runner Sports

Three Things To Expect From Paul Pogba In 2016

Paul Pogba has started 2016 on a high note.

His Turin-based squad came out of their Italian winter break with a 3-0 victory over Hellas Verona on Wednesday, a game that saw the former Manchester United player notch an assist on Zaza’s buffer goal that sealed the win, all while displaying the skills that make him such a joy to watch.

Warning: Backheel through-balls and slick dribbling may make you nauseous:

 

Skills aside, 2016 is a year where the sky’s the limit for Pogba, so read on as The Runner Sports explains what to expect from the French international this new year.


1. Increased Consistency as Playmaker


The 15/16 season started below expectations for the Serie A defending champions and a lot of the blame fell on the shoulders of Pogba and his underperforming displays as Juve’s newly appointed No. 10. By October, the Old Lady saw themselves sitting in 12th place, and even Juve director Pavel Nedved was calling for his go-to attacking midfielder to step it up.

We’re now halfway through the campaign and things have changed for the better. Juventus currently sit in fourth place and are three points out of first. In addition to Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala being the primary offensive reasons for the turnaround, Pogba too has regained his form and looks adjusted to the pressures of wearing the coveted No. 10 jersey.

The last five results have seen the midfielder notch two assists and a goal. He’s now tallied for six helpers and has hit the back of the net three times across all competitions so far this season. Where he was once criticised for being too flashy, and not showing much for it, he’s now combining that out-of-your-seat skill with increased decisiveness and it’s paying off.

With the departures of Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo in midfield, the Frenchman needed a bit of time to adjust to the increased responsibility in his position, but now he’s rising to the challenge and looking to continue his stellar form in the coming months. His performance against Hellas Verona is indicative of that.


2. Potential Record Breaking Transfer


 The box-to-box midfielder is a highly ranked commodity among the biggest clubs in the world, and his services could very well see him on the move this summer.  The 22-year-old doesn’t seem to leave the rumor mill with reports suggesting that Real Madrid could break the bank for the Juve playmaker.

Rumors are flying around that Los Blancos could break the 100 million euro mark for him, and that wouldn’t be far-fetched considering they are, well, Real Madrid and that last summer Manchester City pulled out of a bidding war for Pogba, with the Citizens putting 72 million euros on the table. Wherever he goes, he certainly has the potential to break transfer fee records.

However, statements made by Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola via Tuttosport, could shed light on his client’s mindset during this whole situation:

“The big clubs will come knocking for Paul again at the end of the season. I don’t know how much chance Juventus have of holding on to him. Paul will make a decision based on the offers he receives and based on how he feels. He was in a similar situation last summer. Paul has a strong connection with Juve. Paul is the type of guy who thinks things through and he thinks with his heart. He felt that it was not the right moment to leave last summer and he was right.” 

If staying was “right”, then it was most likely because he still has a chance to win another Serie A title, compete with a team that could make another deep Champions League run, and continue to sharpen his playmaking skills on a team that doesn’t contain as much pressure as say, a Real Madrid or Barcelona would.

If it was just about money, then the former Manchester United midfielder would have left last summer. If Juventus fail to win the Champions League again this season, he might very well find himself elsewhere for the 16/17 season.


3. More ‘Dabbing’


With the hip-hop dance the ‘Dab’ making big strides in pop culture at the end of 2015 and finding its way into American sports with NFL players like Cam Newton doing it during their end zone celebrations, the dance that was invented in Atlanta has found its way into European football. The man most responsible is, you guessed it, Paul Pogba.

After Juve’s 3-2 win over Carpi last month, the French midfielder busted out the dance and it soon went viral amongst soccer fans:

He even added the dance move to his haircut, and it looks to have been inspired by the Pacman arcade character:

 

Expect more of this during the remainder of the season. Pogba takes the field again this Sunday for a Serie A match against Sampdoria.