Paper Round: 'Ineffective' Paul Pogba is failing to live up to his world-record billing
Paul Pogba looked "clumsy" against Liverpool but was bailed out by David de Gea, while Manchester City want to sign David Alaba. It's Tuesday's Paper Round.
Pogba fails to deliver on his world-record promise
Paul Pogba's "second coming" at Manchester United has failed to hit the high notes expected and he missed a big opportunity to make a statement against Liverpool - according to an article in the Guardian. The world's most expensive footballer has scored one goal in 11 appearances for the Red Devils since his attention-grabbing move from Juventus, but he has yet to take a game by the scruff of the neck and failed to stand up on the big stage on Monday night, offering little spark in a United team that were crying out for his invention. A lack of consistent position has admittedly had an impact on Pogba's start to life under Jose Mourinho, but he looked "clumsy" and "ineffective" against Liverpool.
Paper Round's view: The reaction to Pogba's start to life at Manchester United is quite frankly ridiculous. He's a 23-year-old footballer still developing his game, still learning his best position and - crucially - still finding his way in a league where he didn't actually get a grounding at the start of his career as he should have done.
Manchester United didn't pay the absurd sum that they did because they were buying the finished article. They paid that money for a young player with an incredible room for growth above his already world-class level.
Pogba is a player who currently produces occasional moments of magic, silky flicks to unlock a defence, clever passes to bring team-mates into play, and we've seen glimpses of that in his first couple of months in a team that still lacks a settled shape around him. Give the player time and he will thrive, but don't expect him to turn into a Cristiano Ronaldo-style match-winner, because that's not the player that United have bought.
De Gea's the hero again for United
David de Gea produced two sensational saves to keep Manchester United in the game against Liverpool on Monday - says The Sun. The Spanish stopper denied Emre Can and Philippe Coutinho to ensure that United left Anfield with a point - with the second of those saves even drawing a round of applause from opposition manager Jurgen Klopp.
Paper Round's view: Do we need any more proof that De Gea is one of the best shot-stoppers in the world? He's United's best player, even with the quality of the summer arrivals, and the fact that the club have been able to keep him at Old Trafford is a massive boon. Real Madrid can't sign him now and arguably don't need him anyway given the strength of their first choice goalkeeper Keylor Navas, so De Gea's reign as the Premier League's best between the sticks shows no sign of coming to an end any time soon.
Pep sees Alaba as the answer to City's problems
Pep Guardiola is confident of being able to tempt Bayern Munich's £40m-rated left-back David Alaba to join Manchester City next summer - according to The Sun. Alaba and Guardiola developed a fine working relationship in Germany and the Spanish coach sees the Austrian star as the perfect solution to City's left-back problem. A January deal would seem unlikely, but City hope to bring Alaba to the Premier League in time for next season.
Pep Guardiola with David AlabaImago
Paper Round's view: It would make sense if Guardiola wanted Alaba at City given that he was the coach's biggest protégé at Bayern. But would he really be a solution to City's problems at left-back? If he played there then yes, he's one of the best in the world in that position, but Guardiola quickly moved Alaba away from that position at Bayern and deployed him all over the pitch, before admitting:
" David Alaba is our God. He has played almost all ten positions! "
Alaba often featured in midfield, either in a deep-lying role or as a No. 10, and then later as an inverted winger, while on occasion he was even used as a false-nine or a centre-back. His quality on the ball and remarkable versatility would make him a very welcome addition to City's already star-studded squad, but if a left-back solution is what's needed then don't be surprised to see City's recruiters are left needing to look to bring a second player in if they want to solve that problem.