Paul Pogba is being unfairly criticised because of the size of his transfer fee and for regularly changing his haircut, according to former Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves.
The France international signed from Juventus for a world-record fee of £89.3million in August and has received mixed reviews for his performances since returning to Old Trafford.
Pogba has struggled to impose himself on big matches but has scored seven goals in all competitions this season, with Hargreaves – as manager Jose Mourinho has done – insisting the 24-year-old is performing to a good standard.
“People are judging the price-tag, people are judging the haircuts and all these other flash things they see,” Hargreaves said to BT Sport ahead of United’s Europa League tie against Rostov on Thursday.
“But you look at his stats over the last four seasons: 10 goals and 10 assists, this is what you get, and he’s on track for that.
“The whole point is he went from a great Juventus team with [Carlos] Tevez, [Arturo] Vidal and [Andrea] Pirlo and he was one player in a great group of players.
“But now, because of the price-tag, he is the focal point – 10 goals and 10 assists, that’s him – but he’s going to have to step that up a little bit because the price-tag is so high and the team will expect more from him.
“I think he’s played well but people are judging him on his price-tag.”
— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 26, 2017
Hargreaves believes Pogba would get into the team at any one of a number of European giants and backed the midfielder to become one of the world’s best players.
“To call him a problem is beyond ridiculous,” he said.
“At Real Madrid, [Zinedine] Zidane would love to have him. Barcelona would love to have him in the midfield. [Antonio] Conte would love to have him at Chelsea, Pep Guardiola would love to have him.
“He’s not a £90m problem. I think he’s a £90m gift for this team and he’s going to be here for a long time. They have got to build around him and get the balance around him. I think he’s going to be a superstar.”
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