Paul Pogba's personal targets will be raised next season
When Paul Pogba is called to mind, most instantly think about his huge price tag. Since returning to Manchester United for £89 million two summers ago, the France international has received frequent criticism.
In Pogba's Man United second coming, he played 30 Premier League games, scoring five times and assisting four. This campaign was a slight improvement. The 25-year-old finished with six goals and ten assists in 27 matches. The 'real' him showed up in a few big encounters, too. He left his mark on rivals Manchester City, finding the net twice in the Red Devils' 3-2 victory at the Etihad, before breaking the deadlock against Arsenal during a 2-1 home win three weeks later.
United supporters, though, expect more from their record signing. Pogba is capable of scoring 15 goals a season in the top flight.
The towering midfielder became his own brand at Juventus. He must recreate that image in a Manchester United shirt.
There are two camps. One believes Pogba will eventually succeed. The other remains doubtful. Jose Mourinho perhaps belongs in the latter. The United boss has been left perplexed by the Frenchman's inconsistency throughout the season.
Pogba, though, can use the negativity to improve personal performance. His next chance to impress begins in only three weeks' time.
Pogba was selected in France's World Cup squad. He will compete against Australia, Peru and Denmark in Group C. Big performances are key for him. A good tournament in Russia will help enhance his status on English soil.
Man United fans realise Pogba's true capabilities. A tall, strong, skilful player who can produce killer passes. His distinctive ability alone is capable of taking the Red Devils to a higher level.
Performing on a regular basis, however, has proven Pogba's major problem. Having rarely lost possession in Italy, that aspect has since crept into his game at United. It's given critics something to feed on.
Pogba, though, is somewhat fortunate. He has a manager who can help. Mourinho rules with an iron fist, giving players a good kick up the backside if they don't adhere to his expectations. All the French midfielder must do is take heed.
Mourinho is likely to strengthen his central midfield this summer. Numerous players have been linked to United recently, including Shakhtar Donetsk's Fred. If the Brazilian international arrives, it should give Pogba a much-needed reality check. No one is indispensable at Old Trafford.
Considering Pogba's huge valuation and high wages, other clubs will be reluctant to take him off United's hands. His future, at least short-term, lies in Manchester. The Red Devils must curate their most-valuable possession to produce the desired result.
Many Premier League players have previously failed to match their price tags. As English football's record transfer-fee holder, though, Pogba receives more media attention than most. If it isn't his form been bashed, it's his hairstyle.
Next season is hugely important for Pogba. Ultimately only he can ensure personal success at Man United. Failure to improve and Mourinho won't offer any further chances.