Juventus star Paul Pogba has been linked with a return to the Premier League this summer, but there is an argument to suggest that it could be the wrong move for his career.
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It is no secret that Serie A doesn’t have the power and appeal that it once did, and as a result many of the brightest talents that start their respective ascent to the top in Italy move on elsewhere around Europe.
Many choose to ply their trade in either England or Spain, but there have been mixed results for them in terms of how they have fared once they have moved on to a new challenge.
Look at Chelsea’s Juan Cuadrado. He scored four goals, made four assists and looked like a world-beater in 17 Serie A games for Fiorentina this season. Then he moved to Chelsea in the winter and failed to contribute a single goal or assist in 12 Premier League matches.
He even got embarrassed defensively, getting a runaround by the likes of Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha…
Certain individuals have the talent to make it work anywhere, others struggle to adapt and adjust to the new environment and style of the game, and, in turn, that has led to many Serie A prospects coming unstuck in the Premier League.
Recent examples are Stevan Jovetic, Dani Osvaldo and Erik Lamela, with the trio all starring for their respective teams before a switch to the Premier League saw their stock fall.
Looking back further and the likes of Juan Sebastian Veron and Andriy Shevchenko stand out immediately as world class players who just couldn’t replicate their previous form in England.
That should be a concern for Pogba, with the 22-year-old consistently rumoured to be leaving Turin, with both Chelsea and Man United linked, as reported by the Metro.
The French international is in a perfect situation at this point in his career, with the Bianconeri dominating domestically and finally proving that they can compete with the best in Europe.
While they fell short of their objective in Berlin at the weekend, Pogba has played a key role in re-establishing the club as a European powerhouse, and his departure would be a potential disaster for both parties.
Admittedly, there are counter-arguments. Pogba may feel comfortable in his current environment which means we aren’t necessarily seeing the best of him. The Juve midfielder could make more money elsewhere and continue to grow into a global icon with the right club.
Further, his all-round game suits the Premier League pace and style and it wouldn’t be entirely foreign to him, given his previous stint at Old Trafford prior to moving to Italy.
The Frenchman is undeniably one of the top prospects in world football, and if he continues to develop his game and produce consistently, he will be regarded as one of the best midfielders in the game.
However, moving now would potentially disrupt that process and set him back at a point in his career where he needs to continue learning. With Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal alongside him, who better to learn from?
Pogba is still young, and, while there are the obvious signs that he is on a different level to his peers, his game isn’t the finished article yet.
Questions can still be asked of his ability to dominate a game from start to finish, and that vulnerability, lack of maturity and inexperience could result in a switch back to England being premature and devastating for his progression.
The scrutiny is intense anywhere in the world, but a dip in form or an off-the-pitch distraction would give the British media a field day at his expense. Is he ready to be exposed to that?
Ultimately, Juventus can provide Pogba with a stable environment and the platform to win trophies at every level. That in turn can help him establish himself as an integral part of the French national team and he can add to his 22 caps and play a vital role on home soil at Euro 2016 next year.
The lure of playing in the ‘best league in the world’ is certainly a strong one for any player, but change isn’t necessarily always a good thing and Pogba would be well advised to postpone any plans that he may have of testing himself elsewhere in Europe.