After Mino Raiola’s comments regarding the future of Paul Pogba, there has been a lot of speculation about him leaving next summer. 2021-22 season. Manchester United would obviously want to sell the player next summer instead of just letting him leave on a free transfer.
It is looking very likely that this is Pogba’s final season in Manchester. The World Cup winner has been performing very well in the last few games. The former Juventus midfielder scored a cracking goal against West Ham at London Stadium. He played an important part in United’s second goal against Leipzig. He also assisted Anthony Martial’s goal against Sheffield United on Thursday.
One cannot deny the world-class quality of Paul Pogba. Despite his slightly inconsistent form at times, the midfielder has produced some clutch moments in the United shirt. He scored in the Europa League final in 2017 and won the Player of the Year award in the same competition. His performance in the FA Cup semifinal against Tottenham Hotspur in 2018 is difficult to forget. The Frenchman also played an important role in United’s iconic comeback against Manchester City in April 2018.
If Pogba leaves the club, United will have a huge gap to fill. He is one of the most creative players at the club right now. With his possible departure, United will have to find a creative midfielder who is good on the ball and can control the game with his passing prowess.
Here, we have made our list which includes 5 midfielders who can replace Paul Pogba at the club.
1. Saul Niguez
When it comes to versatility, Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez is the one whom many football fans and experts think of. The Spaniard made his club debut at the age of 17.
Saul can play in multiple midfield positions. Sometimes, Diego Simeone has also been seen deploying him as a winger. That being said, centre midfielder is still his natural position.
Saul has been one of the most important players at Atletico Madrid in recent years. The Spaniard has a lot of experience despite being just 26 years of age. He can play the role of a controller and also a box-to-box midfielder. He is a great passer of the ball. The midfielder has the passing accuracy of 88.5% in the league this season.
As Diego Simeone favours a 4-4-2 formation, Saul is accustomed to playing in a midfield pivot. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also plays a midfield pivot in his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation. Considering his attributes, Saul Niguez can be a great Paul Pogba replacement.
2. Houssem Aouar
Rising through the ranks of the Lyon academy, Houssem Aouar has made quite a name for himself recently as he has found his way into the first team of the French club. With his consistent performances in recent seasons, Aouar has been a transfer target for many top clubs, including Arsenal.
The 22-year-old midfielder is known for his passing, control and composure. With Bruno Fernandes already proving to be a great talisman for Solskjaer’s side, the addition of Aouar can enhance the technicality of United’s midfield.
Aouar is also known to be a great big game player. The Frenchman performed brilliantly in the Champions League knockout stages against Juventus and Manchester City. His fine form also led him to be selected in the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season.
3. Ruben Neves
The transfer of Ruben Neves from Porto to Wolves in 2017 took everyone by surprise. It was very shocking to see a Championship club like Wolves sign one of the most talented midfielders in Portugal.
Neves is a brilliant passer of the ball. His passing range suits Nuno Espirito Santo’s counter-attacking style of football, which is also the system Ole Gunnar Solskjaer mostly uses. He has a fantastic work ethic and is also known for his long range shooting.
One big advantage Neves has is that he already has plenty of experience in the Premier League. It will be unlikely for him to take time whilst adapting to a new life at a new club.
4. Ismael Bennacer
Ismael Bennacer is one of the most promising midfielders in the world at the moment. The Italian giants, AC Milan, signed the Algerian international in the summer of 2019.
Bennacer is known for his passing range, vision, composure and ball control. He can also play in multiple positions such as defensive midfielder, centre midfielder and attacking midfielder. Stefano Pioli mostly uses him in a midfield pivot where he operates as a deep lying playmaker.
The AC Milan midfielder has been doing pretty well in the Serie A this season. He has a passing accuracy of 88.5% and he averages 3.1 long balls per game (according to WhoScored).
Bennacer is another top-class talent who would suit Manchester United very well.
5. Fabian Ruiz
Napoli signed Fabian Ruiz from Real Betis in the summer of 2018, particularly as a replacement for Jorginho. The Spanish midfielder has developed into one of the best creative midfielders in the Serie A in recent seasons.
A left-footed midfielder known for his technique, control, vision, dribbling and passing range, Fabian Ruiz is also a very versatile midfielder. According to WhoScored, the Spanish midfielder has a 91.3 % passing accuracy in the league. He also averages 5.4 long balls per game. He also has assisted 4 goals in all competitions so far this season, which is pretty impressive for a deep lying playmaker.
Fabian Ruiz’s versatility can benefit United a lot as he can play practically anywhere in midfield. He is another player Solskjaer should keep an eye on in the next summer.