Ten years after Paul Pogba left Manchester United on a free transfer to join Juventus in Italy, history repeated itself on Monday as the France midfielder said goodbye to the Premier League and returned to the Serie A club.
Pogba, who departed United when his contract ended last month, has agreed to terms with Juventus on a four-year deal that would keep him at the Turin club until June 2026.
“Juventus Football Club announces that it has signed an employment deal with the footballer Paul Pogba… Juventus and the player have signed an employment contract until June 30, 2026,” Juventus stated in a statement.
Pogba joined United in 2016 for a then-world record sum of 89 million pounds ($106.32 million), but the four-time Serie A winner won just two titles in his debut season, the League Cup and the Europa League.
Pogba came through the United development system and made a few of professional games before declining to extend his contract and joining Juventus in 2012, which irritated then-manager Alex Ferguson.
Pogba was a fixture in the Juventus lineup throughout his four-year stay in Serie A, and he was even called up to the France national team before United chose to pay a record fee to bring him back to Old Trafford.
His appointment was supposed to usher in a new era at United, a team that was battling to even qualify for the Champions League, much alone be considered a championship contender. When he came to England, he was unable to match his consistency in Serie A.
Pogba’s vice-captaincy was revoked after a spat with Jose Mourinho, and although the Frenchman had a short comeback under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, his overall contributions were restricted by injury or a lack of assistance on the field.
Pogba has seldom taken the game by the scruff of the neck, and supporters’ patience grew thin as many pondered how Pogba could play a key part in France’s World Cup success in 2018 yet struggle at United.
Despite a promising start last season, when he had five assists in his first two games, he only made 16 league starts as the team failed to qualify for the Champions League for the second consecutive season.
With his contract expiring, his unwillingness to sign an extension made him a lightning rod for most of the criticism leveled at United’s team during their worst season in Premier League history in terms of points scored.
His strained relationship with the fans reached a boiling point in April, when they booed him off the field after his withdrawal from a game against Norwich City, with the Frenchman seeming to cup his ears in the direction of the United fans.
Pogba’s United career ended three days later with a whimper at Anfield, where he lasted just nine minutes until an injury prompted Ralf Rangnick to pull him off as Liverpool went on to win 4-0.
Pogba was supposed to find atonement in that game after being sent off in the reverse match at Old Trafford, and Rangnick indicated at the time that he may not play again this season. He never followed through.