Real Madrid are coming off a season where they won their 35th LaLiga title and their 14th UEFA Champions League trophy. They have already signed Aurélien Tchouaméni from Ligue 1 team AS Monaco ahead of the upcoming season. However, some reports in the media have suggested that they could bring in another French midfielder in the form of Paul Pogba. The 29-year-old French international has been released by Manchester United after he decided not to renew his contract at Old Trafford. Let us look at why Pogba may ultimately be an unnecessary addition to the Real Madrid squad despite his talents.
Pogba featured for Manchester United in 20 out of the 38 games in the recently concluded Premier League season, where he played only 1,349 minutes, owing to lengthy hamstring and calf muscle injuries. Pogba scored only once in the league at a rate of 0.06 goals per 90. He underperformed against his xG per 90 of 0.13. The midfielder took 1.85 shots per 90, of which 0.31 came from the head. The Frenchman was in the 94th percentile for headed shots per 90. He also attempted close to five dribbles per 90 at a success rate marginally over three quarters.
While Paul Pogba underacheived on his xG, the same cannot be said about xA. Pogba provided nine assists in the recent EPL season. The Frenchman did so at a rate of 0.49 per 90, which was not only much higher than the xA per 90 of 0.11, but it was also in the 100th percentile for this category (assists per 90). Pogba attempted 51.71 passes per 90 at an accuracy of 84.64%. He also completed 78% of his balls into the attacking third and 5.17 long passes per 90, the latter of which ranked him in the upper decile for midfielders.
Seen in the above visual is the heat map of Pogba in the 2021-22 Premier League campaign. The 29-year-old was largely influential in the opposition’s half between midfield and their penalty box. With the ball at his feet, the Frenchman completed 6.27 progressive passes per 90, 7.33 passes into the final third per 90, 1.73 passes into the opposition’s penalty area per 90, 6.47 progressive carries per 90 and 1.6 carries into the final third per 90. On the defensive end, he attempted 17.6 pressures per 90 and 2.6 tackles and interceptions per 90.
Paul Pogba would have been a great signing for Real Madrid in the 2016-2019 period, but with the likes of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Federico Valverde, Eduardo Camavinga and now Aurélien Tchouaméni vying for a spot in central midfield, Pogba would be better off looking elsewhere. The Frenchman is more likely to re-join Juventus, according to some reports in the media.