Pogba Returns to Juventus: A Look Back at His United Years

Paul Pogba has completed his return to Juventus on a free transfer following the expiry of his contract at Manchester United this summer. The Frenchman returns to Turin after leaving Juve in 2016 and he is expected to sign either a three or four year contract with the possibility to extend for a further year. The Bianconeri announced last week that they had completed a deal to sign Angel Di Maria on a free transfer.

Pogba spent four years with Juventus after leaving Old Trafford in 2012 and won four Serie A titles and two Coppa Italia’s before returning to Man United in 2016. The blockbuster deal worth €105 million broke the then-record for highest-paid transfer fee, surpassing Real Madrid’s deal for Gareth Bale but he now returns to Juventus on a free transfer.

Pogba’s return to the Theatre of Dreams was set to spark a change in fortunes at United after the Manchester side had experienced a drop off following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson three years prior. Things haven’t quite worked out for the midfielder and he could now be making the last big move of his career as he closes in on his 30s. Manchester City were reported to have made a lucrative deal which would have sparked even more controversy.

So, let’s take a look at Pogba’s tumultuous time at Manchester United and cast our minds back to the highs and lows that have surrounded the 2018 World Cup winner.

Early Silverware

Pogba’s return to United started off as a success under Jose Mourinho. In the 2016/17 season, the Frenchman was able to lift both the League Cup and Europa League. They turned out to be the only pieces of silverware he would lift during his second spell in Manchester, however. Nonetheless, it was a fantastic start and seemingly sparked the change at Old Trafford that was needed as United made their return to Champions League football for the 2017/18 season, despite finishing in sixth place in the Premier League.

The former Le Havre academy graduate made an impact in both finals too, with Mourinho singling out both him and Zlatan Ibrahimovic for praise in the 3-2 League Cup victory over Southampton, as well as scoring in the 2-0 Europa League final win against Ajax.

The following season saw United head in the right direction once more, improving upon their sixth place finish the season prior, as Mourinho led his side to a second place finish in the 2017/18 season. Pogba was influential throughout, scoring six goals and assisting ten. The campaign also saw Pogba deliver one of his most memorable performances in a United shirt as he scored a brace in their 3-2 derby victory against Man City at the Etihad. The Red Devils had to come from two goals down that day and it also stopped City from securing the Premier League title.

World Cup Win

During his time at United, Pogba also won the 2018 World Cup with France as they defeated Croatia 4-2 in the final in Moscow. He scored his only goal of the tournament in the final but had a fine tournament throughout, starting six of seven matches. The midfielder also provided a fantastic assist for Kylian Mbappe in the final.

Things were on the up for Pogba as he was quickly fulfilling the hype surrounding him, helping United progress after the issues post Ferguson’s retirement, as well as becoming a World Cup winner. His individual performances would continue but at a cost to his team’s overall performance.

Life Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

The 2018/19 season saw Pogba at his prolific best, scoring 13 goals and assisting nine in 35 Premier League appearances – also making the most league appearances in a single campaign at United. Despite Pogba’s individual performance, the season for United was met with disruption as Mourinho was replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in December.

Pogba had his fair share of disagreements with Mourinho. Two big personalities are likely to clash and Mourinho also did not see him as captain material. Nonetheless, Solskjaer was superficially able to get the best out of Pogba. He was deployed in a more advanced role in the latter part of the season under the Norwegian boss and arguably brought out the best in him.

The season was a failure for the team, however, as United finished in sixth place in the league and were eliminated at the quarter-final stage in both the FA Cup and Champions League. The following season was a struggle for Pogba as he appeared in just 22 matches during the 2019/20 season. United did manage to improve, however, as Solskjaer guided United to a third place finish in the league.

Final Years

United were top of the table in January 2021 and Pogba contributed two memorable goals during their strong run of form against Burnley and Fulham at Turf Moor and Craven Cottage respectively. However, Solskjaer’s side were unable to maintain their title charge and finished in second place. They did manage to reach the final of the Europa League and Pogba was influential throughout United’s Europa League campaign. He scored a wonderful solo goal against Milan in the round-of-16 to help United win 2-1 on aggregate and was also able to get on the scoresheet against Roma in the semi-final. However, his side were met with disappointment once more as they were defeated on penalties by Villarreal in the final. Pogba was inconsistent throughout the 2020/21 season and contributed just three goals and three assists in the league.

His final year at Old Trafford started brightly as Pogba provided four assists against Leeds United in the opening day of the season. However, he scored just one goal and provided five assists in the remainder of the season. Injury issues and speculation about his contract ending left a sour taste in his final year as he made just 27 appearances in all competitions to end his second spell in Manchester.


Pogba’s years at United were filled with controversy throughout. Starting when he initially left the club back in 2012, Ferguson stated that he showed a lack of respect towards the club. He was often met with injury issues when he made his return and was also inconsistent with his performances. His lackadaisical manner on the pitch did not help his cause.

Despite these issues, his talent and ability on the pitch were never really in question but he was often scrutinised for his lack of work rate and lack of determination – a problem that seems to be the focus of this United side on the whole. The media did little to help him and he often had reported quarrels with his coaches, particularly in his qualms with Mourinho, which will overshadow his United career. His late agent Mino Raiola often fuelled the media with plenty of ammo which often became the focus, instead of his performances on the pitch.

Pogba heads back to the Bianconeri in what is set to be his last big move of his career. He was loved in Turin and that was where he became a star. He was greeted at the airport by fans on Friday as they anticipated his arrival. He was unable to conquer England but he will now look to reach the top once more as he returns to Juventus.