Paul Pogba was the most sought after player this summer window. Despite offers from both Real Madrid and Barcelona, the Frenchman resisted the temptation and committed to Juventus. His loyalty and performances have been rewarded by giving him the number 10 jersey, worn by only the greatest of players at Juventus
Much like the famous, and now infamous, ‘Number 7′ jersey at Manchester United, the no.10 shirt carries great significance in Juventus’ folklore. Worn by legends such as Platini, Roberto Baggio, Alessandro Del Piero and most recently, Carlos Tevez, the shirt is given to the talisman of the team- The Game Changer.
If Pogba has proved anything over the last three years, is that he’s been one of Juventus’ greatest young players in possibly a generation. The midfielder has rightfully received plaudits from the world’s best, despite only being 23 years old. Resisting a prospective a 80 Million move to Barcelona, Pogba has, for now, shown where his loyalty lies. Giving him the famed jersey will go a little way to ensuring his stay, though very little is said and done in the world of modern football
Pogba has matured a large amount in a small stretch of time, and thus deserves to bear the mantle.
Moving from Number 6 to Number 10, would usually indicate a positional change. Though Pogba has functioned in both positions, the number 10 carries with it much more than a positional responsibility.
In an interview with Italian Newspaper Tuttosport, club president Andrea Agnelli described Pogba as a ‘Phenomenon’. He further commented,
“If anything, shirt numbers are important from a commercial perspective – the No. 10 has always made people dream, ita s the shirt that the kids want, However, it’s a shirt that we must find a player with certain characteristics for, a phenomenon.”
“Especially when we’re talking about the No. 10 of Juventus.”
Pogba now carries that mantle with him, but he would be wise to realise that the number carries great significance.The young Frenchman has been the model professional throughout the summer. While Juventus would have carefully considered every big money offer that came their way, Pogba remained silent on every speculation. He committed to the club he was at, and was even the first person to show up at Juventus’ summer training.
Commenting on his new number, Pogba was quoted by Tuttosport as saying “It’s an honor to wear the No. 10 shirt after so many great Juventus players of the past.”
Time will tell how long Juve, and not Pogba, can hold out
Juventus are no strangers to prodigious Frenchmen. In 1998, they sold Zinedine Zidane to Real Madrid, for a then record fee of a 70 Million. Juventus then used that money to buy Lillian Thuram, Gianluigi Buffon and Pavel Nedved, not a bad return. At their current juncture, Juventus could do with a larger inflow of cash.
Pogba’s sale, could prospectively bring three good players to Turin. Having spent smartly over the summer however, Juventus might feel they are in better shape to tackle the season head on.
Purchases such as that of Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic, as well as promotion of Roberto Peyrera and Sturaro to the first team, have enabled Juve to reduce their squads average age, and building towards the future.
Pogba seems the veritable lynchpin of Juventus’ new operation, and the number 10 jersey will ensure he occupies a more central, defining role.
Popular opinion still dictates that a move to a bigger club is on the cards for Pogba very soon, however Juventus’ standing as a club has been greatly boosted by their performances through the last season. While they lost Arturo Vidal, Carlos Tevez and Andrea Pirlo through the summer, Pogba’s commitment might be the extra boost this new Juventus side needs.
Having already said that he’s ready to take Arturo Vidal’s place in the team, Paul Pogba looks determined to lead Juventus’ attack heading into the new campaign.
The gold-toothed vultures of Real, Barcelona and Manchester City will no doubt be circling over ominously, Juventus have a star in their midst. Whether or not he ends up like Del Piero or Zidane, is yet to be seen. He’s on a steep upward trajectory, and Juventus still remains the most ideal place for his current development, but possibly not for his long term future.