5 Reasons Why Juventus Won't Let Paul Pogba Go
As the summer transfer season approaches, expect there to be plenty of column inches dedicated to the future of Juventus' Paul Pogba.
The France international has been sensational since joining the Bianconeri in 2012 and has made a name for himself as one of the brightest young talents in world football.
He has a contract with Juve until 2016, but they might want to improve that deal if they don't want to lose him to a European rival—something that would greatly hurt their chances of bringing the Champions League trophy to Turin.
Here are five reasons why Juventus won't let Pogba go right now.
He's Their Best Young Player
Let's start with the obvious: Teams that are serious about competing in the Champions League don't sell their best players. Especially not when they're so young that they're almost guaranteed to get a lot better.
Pogba is already one of the best midfielders in Italy, but before long he looks set to become one of the leading lights in European and world football. Letting a player like that go before he's really made his mark on the club would be foolish, even for huge sums.
If the Bianconeri can hold on to the young Frenchman for another couple of seasons, continue to dominate in Italy and possibly win Europe's biggest club competition, they could sell him for even more than they'd get now.
He'd still be young and still be talented, but he'd have plenty of experience having achieved something special in Turin and couldn't be blamed for wanting a fresh challenge.
If He Goes, It Will Be Hard to Keep Arturo Vidal
Selling a player as clearly talented as Pogba now would send a clear message: Juventus are more serious about profits than they are about winning trophies.
That would be a bitter pill to swallow for their other in-demand midfielder, Arturo Vidal. The Chilean is one of the best in the world and would not be short of offers if he elected to leave Turin.
Despite that, he's repeatedly committed himself to the club and insists that he wants to win the Champions League with Juve (as reported in Italian by the Turin-based daily Tuttosport and reproduced online in Italian on tuttomercatoweb.com).
If Pogba goes, it will be hard for the club to convince other top stars such as Vidal to stick around because if they're going to succeed in Europe, they'll need all of their current best players and then some.
It Doesn't Make Sense to Strengthen Their Rivals
It's unlikely that Pogba would return to Manchester United, the club he left for Juve back in 2012.
But rumours persist and according to the Manchester Evening News, the Red Devils were scouting the Frenchman during the Bianconeri's recent Europa League clash with Benfica.
Selling to United—or any other major European team—wouldn't make sense for Juve because they'd just be making their own task of winning the Champions League more difficult by strengthening a rival.
It's tempting to use the example of Zinedine Zidane to illustrate the fact that Juventus aren't above selling their best players, but it's an unfair comparison. Zizou had already enjoyed plenty of success in Turin, and when the offer eventually came, it was too good for the player or the club to turn down.
That world-record transfer fee allowed them to bring in Lilian Thuram, Pavel Nedved and Gianluigi Buffon—three players who would go on to define the decade for the Turin side. Pogba could be sold for big money, but he won't fetch a big enough price that it would allow a similar reinforcement.
He's Not Ready for the Pressure
For evidence of the damage that too much pressure, too soon, can do to a young player's career, look no farther than Milan's Mario Balotelli.
The striker has been one of the most talked-about footballers in the world since he was a teenager—something that has almost certainly had an effect on his career.
Balotelli is now as famous for outbursts like the recent one after Milan's loss to Roma as he is for scoring goals and is now struggling with being in the media spotlight 24/7. Big-money moves to Manchester City and then to Milan have only served to focus attentions on the young striker—and heap on the pressure.
It would be better for Pogba to take his time developing as a footballer, surrounded by players and coaches with whom he has built a relationship and who are some of the most talented in the business.
Juve Have More Faith in Him Than a New Club Would
By his own lofty standards, Pogba's form hasn't been great of late—the outstanding showing against Bologna aside. He's still brilliant in patches, but it's been streaky in the second half of the season.
Despite that, Antonio Conte continues to play him because he knows that dips are a natural thing for any player, especially one so young. Conte also knows what a great talent he's got on his hands, and he's obviously keen to nurture it.
If Pogba moves to another club for big money, he'll be expected to justify the fee right away, and any slumps in form as he develops are unlikely to be looked upon kindly.
Young players who find themselves going through difficult periods are all too often labelled flops or unfairly criticised for not being the finished article by the age of 21. Staying at Juve will give him more time to develop and fine-tune his talent.