For many years, speculation of Paul Pogba returning to Juventus often circulated in the media, and he has finally rejoined the Italian giants after he had left to join Manchester United for a second stint in 2016. The midfielder is just one of a few big name signings Juventus have made this summer.
The Frenchman had enjoyed a successful spell in Turin, winning four Serie A titles and also playing in the 2015 Champions League Final, which the Bianconeri lost 3-1 to Barcelona. He had also scored 34 goals in 177 competitive matches for Juve and plenty of those caugh the eye due to their spectacular nature.
However, the 29-year-old suffered an injury to his right knee in pre-season and he could miss the opening 5-6 weeks of the 2022/23 Serie A campaign, already leaving a void in the Juventus midfield.
Pogba leaving Manchester United after his contract had expired was not surprising at all. After the Red Devils paid Juventus €105 million for the France international 2016, his form struggled to justify such a lofty price tag and muscular injuries also impacted on his form in recent seasons. Pogba wasn’t helped at United by the carousel of coaches coming in and out of Man United, nor by the structural chaos behind the scenes at Old Trafford.
Supported by experienced teammates like Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio, and Arturo Vidal at Juventus, Pogba was able to develop while also playing in a winning team. After six largely underwhelming seasons in Manchester, the Frenchman returned to Turin in July and signed a four-year contract with La Vecchia Signora.
What effect does Pogba’s injury have on Juventus?
Pogba has decided not have to surgery on his knee and he will have conservative therapy. It is a decision that he has made so he can represent France at the World Cup in Qatar in November.
However, this decision not to operate despite the lesion to the lateral meniscus could backfire on the midfielder. He could aggravate his knee, worsening the injury in the process and hindering his Serie A campaign, or worse, miss out on the World Cup.
Even if this therapeutic method aids in his recovery, will the 29-year-old be able to play to the best of his capabilities? Psychologically, he might have that fear of injuring his knee because he is prioritising the World Cup in a few months time.
Juventus have need for a fit Paul Pogba. He is a competent ball-winner, he can supply a delightful assist, and he has shown that he can score outrageous goals.
The Bianconeri also need that extra creativity in midfield. Manuel Locatelli is another capable playmaker, but Denis Zakaria and Weston McKennie are ball-winners, while Arthur and Adrien Rabiot are expected to leave.
Pogba is contracted to Juventus until June 2026 but there is a risk that his first season back could be a write-off.
However, Juventus were the club where Pogba first realised his potential and he rarely reached those heights in two stints with Manchester United. His return to Italy has not started well but it might be the right move in the long run.