Juventus fans are fearful, saddened and left cursing their misfortune with the news of Paul Pogba’s injury, with the French star picking up a serious-looking knock just a few days into the club’s pre-season tour in the US.
And the lesion of the lateral meniscus in his right knee could see him face surgery which would rule him out until 2023 and see him miss this winter’s World Cup, which would obviously be a huge blow not only for the player but also his new club.
Supporters now have great apprehension about how their big summer move for Pogba will work out, despite huge initial hype and excitement about the midfielder’s return to the club on a free transfer after his Manchester United contract expired.
A serious injury so soon into his second Juve career could indicate United willingly shepherded Pogba to the exit door knowing full well his physical frailty – he is 29 but seems to have the aches and pains of a 39-year-old, with Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport indicating he has experienced knee discomfort since the start of this year.
Did Juventus adequately assess the risk of signing Pogba before offering him a bumper four-year contract which will see him pass the age of 33 at the club?
The feeling is Juventus have gone all in on him and already lost the bet. With the World Cup in Qatar later this year, It will take a lot of patience and caution to avoid jeopardising the entire season as a write-off.
The Bianconeri do not regret signing Pogba but now have to make big decisions which will affect the whole campaign, damaging manager Massimiliano Allegri’s plans.
Young midfielders Nicolo Fagioli, 21, and Nicolo Rovella, 20, have quickly jumped up in the midfield hierarchy and one could be starting in the team come the beginning of the Serie A season in mid-August.
THE NEW HEIR TO AARON RAMSEY?
Pogba is a majestic and elegant player, but is at least as fragile as the Titanic. And at Juventus, they have learned to worry when player limps off the training pitch.
‘Old Lady’ fans are terrified because the start of Pogba’s second stint in Turin is reminiscent of the start of Aaron Ramsey’s unfortunate Italian career.
The Welsh midfielder has missed a huge number of Juventus games due to an endless series of injuries which have destroyed his career, only making five appearances in all competitions last season.
CEO Maurizio Arrivabene cancelled the former Arsenal star’s contract with a year left to run, paying around £2.5million to cut the player who has most disappointed the Juventus fans in the last 10 years, and get his £400,000-a-week wages off the books.
Today, Juventus and its millions of fans fear Pogba has inherited the role of Ramsey both on the pitch and in the club’s infirmary.
Pogba has not started his second love affair with Juventus in the best way and now the Italian club will have to decide how to react in the summer transfer market to try to patch up the long absence of the French midfielder.
Ramsey is certainly more fragile than Pogba but at the moment there are many similarities between the two, who have spent most of their career living with injuries which hinder their abilities to play regularly for a top club.
DID JUVE ASSESS THE RISK?
The worst season of Pogba on a physical level was in 2019-2020. He picked up four injuries in just one year, a worrying record that profoundly affected Manchester United’s season.
The first injury was to his back in August, the second to his ankle, which caused him trouble on two more occasions.
In January 2020, Pogba underwent surgery to definitively resolve the issue: but recovery is long and has probably affected him to this day.
IS POGBA MORE FRAGILE THAN DYBALA?
The World Cup-winning star has been forced to miss 71 games in the last three years due to injuries which have kept him off the pitch for 431 days.
That is a frightening record, of which Juventus was aware even if the physical checks carried out on the player offered excellent results.
In March, Juve rightly decided to get rid of Paulo Dybala due to his injury record frailty.
In seven years at the Allianz Stadium, ‘La Joya’ lost 371 days of football due to various injuries and now the fans of the ‘Old Lady’ are wondering how and why the club sent Dybala away only to buy another perennially injured player like Pogba.
If Dybala plays more games than Pogba does, the club will be overwhelmed by criticism and the hope of the Juventus chiefs is that the French midfielder can overcome his injury as quickly as possible.
ARRIVABENE IS NOT WORRIED BUT THE TEAM IS IN SHOCK
Arrivabene is an experienced man who has sailed stormy seas and understands how Pogba’s injury can be considered an unpredictable misfortune, given the Frenchman’s brilliant start in summer training.
Pogba’s injury created a shock inside the locker room because his cheerfulness and charisma is contagious.
His presence in the engine room was immediately felt positively by Manuel Locatelli, Weston McKennie and, especially, Denis Zakaria, who has played in a sublime way in the first-team matches since his move in January.
Despite the presence of the above midfielders, Pogba’s absence will be keenly felt.