When you sign a player on a free transfer, the word ‘free’ does a lot of heavy lifting. Just about every free agency deal includes the use of major signing on fees, higher wages, and excellent bonus programs. There will also often be sell-on percentage agreements, with the player netting a percentage of future fees agreed for them. That being said, though, free agent deals are coveted because, whilst still expensive, they are still cost-effective.
Juventus have long been one of the best in the business at doing free deals, as landing Paul Pogba and Angel di Maria in one summer attests. However, the Bianconeri are already sweating on the fitness of Pogba. Reports that he has damaged the meniscus in his knee means that he will likely be missing for a period of time.
When first reported, it was suggested a timeframe of around 2-3 months was expected. While this would mean missing most of pre-season and not getting much time ahead of the winter FIFA World Cup, new reports suggest the damage is much worse than feared.
Indeed, the fears are now extending to the idea that Pogba might miss the World Cup entirely. The Frenchman is believed to have more serious knee damage than first assumed, and he could be out for a long period of the season. This would almost certainly mean that if the injury goes beyond the 2-3 month spell that Pogba would be out of the France squad for the tournament.
Given how much time has been wasted at Old Trafford, this is another blow for the France midfielder. As he continues to try and re-prove to the football world of his obvious skills, Pogba could be facing a major period of time on the sidelines.
Pogba injury derails revival feeling around Juventus
The Turin giants have been in flux for a few years now, struggling to ever really make a significant mark since Cristiano Ronaldo signed. The free agent departure of Paulo Dybala was seen as a major mistake, too, costing the club their own ‘face of the club’ type forward. Now, as Juve look to rebuild, the hope was that veterans like Pogba and di Maria would help to tide things along while the younger players develop.
The disheartening loss of Pogba, though, means that this is on the backburner. Juve are now back to looking light in midfield, and lacking in creative edge as many of their recent signings have flopped. Given Pogba has spent much of the last two seasons in and out of the United squad with injury, Juve look set to have the same headache on their hands.
Whatever happens next, though, it is likely that Pogba will miss the World Cup – or if he does make it, he will be diminished in terms of form and fitness. After such a grandiose return to Turin, it looks like Pogba is picking up where he left off in England – out of form, and on the treatment table.