Posted on 16th Jan 2018
In recent weeks, speculation and debate has circulated around social media. The topic; who’s the better player, Manchester United’s Paul Pogba or Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne? Personally, it feels an obvious answer, however one must look deeper and consider other factors to find the best overall player beit on and off the pitch.
It goes without saying, most Manchester United fans will argue that Paul Pogba is the better player of the two. Similarly, all Manchester City fans will argue that Kevin de Bruyne is. Ironically, it isn’t the opinion of the club’s supporters but the opinions of non-supporters that makes all the difference.
Both players are not intended as goal scoring machines, instead players who create chances for others to score goals, players that link the defence to the attack. However seen as the comparison is overall we must take into account how many goals each player has scored. After all, goals win games. This season, Pogba has scored only four goals for Manchester United whilst De Bruyne has a much more impressive return with eight goals to his name.
Yes, Pogba has had his injuries this season and was sidelined with a hamstring injury which saw him miss twelve games. Perhaps circumstances would’ve been different if he’d not been injured, but such is football.
De Bruyne may be the most successful of the two players because, quite simply, he plays for the better team this season. Manchester City tower above all oppositions in the Premier League and look to be the favourites in the Carabao Cup, the FA cup and even the UEFA Champions League. Their players are so driven to create chances and they do so, so effectively that there are more opportunities for any player to score, no matter what their role or position is.
Paul Pogba’s situation is a little bit different. Manchester United’s striker Romelu Lukaku needs to be spoon fed in the box in order to score at times. There isn’t the same selfless creation in Manchester United as there is with Manchester City. There has been more pressure on Manchester United this season, due to the race for second place in the Premier League becoming ever more challenging.
Although Pogba hasn’t received many chances, he has made the most of his situation. He has been directly linked with fourteen goals in the last fourteen games. This consists of four goals and 10 assists.
What’s more impressive is Pogba’s assist record in the Premier League. Whilst both he and De Bruyne share the same number of assists in the Premier League. Paul Pogba has achieved them in over nine hundred minutes less than the Belgian as the United midfielder begins to finally settle, assuming his role more dominantly and beginning to justify his hefty £100 million price tag.
Something worthy of note is how their respective teams perform overall. Manchester City occupy three out of the top four assists in the Premier League, whereas the Frenchman is the only United player on the same list out of ten. Leroy Sane also has nine assists to his name this season whilst David Silva boasts eight in the Premier League.
So both of their performances overall are incredible but what does it cost the club? We will now take into consideration their contracts as either a hindrance or a positive. It goes without saying, they both play for the two biggest clubs in English football at the moment. Therefore, their wages will match the enormity of the clubs. With that said, Manchester United fork out £290,000 every week for the French midfielder. As a bit of perspective, that’s the same weekly wage as Kevin de Bruyne, Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus combined. It is worth noting that although Kevin de Bruyne has been offered a contract upgrade to £200,000, it is still £90,000 less than the weekly wage collected by Pogba.
A player’s influence on the game is almost as important as the goals and assists they create. The ability to control the game (in this case from the centre) is what sways popular opinion to favour De Bruyne. He is the fundamental link between Manchester City’s defence and attack. He shares so many characteristics as other quality midfielders in the Premier League that combined make him the best player in the league this season. He holds a determination to maintain possession similar to that of N’golo Kante. When on form, he directly influences the game as Eden Hazard would for Chelsea. He also shares a very important skill with Paul Pogba, the ability to pick out passes, short or far and execute them with preciseness. Paul Pogba simply doesn’t have as wide a range of such developed skills.
Another thing to take into account, similar to their weekly wage is how much the respective clubs bought them for. Pogba’s transfer fee was record at the time. A remarkable £100 million, from Juventus. Due to such a high price tag, one could argue that he has not yet performed to the standard Manchester United were hoping for, despite being arguably a ‘world class’ player.
Meanwhile, De Bruyne was bought by Manchester City for £55 million from Wolfsburg in 2015. He has developed an awful lot since his arrival, particularly under Pep Guardiola. Pogba was already considered the ‘full package’ during the transfer, whereas the Belgian has developed into a star during his time in England at both Chelsea and Manchester City. Although this reflects on the clubs more so than the players, at this very moment Kevin de Bruyne has proven a much more worthwhile investment.
To conclude, there is no denying that both players are at the top of their game. They do occupate different roles however at this moment Kevin de Bruyne is the more successful player and more importantly shows even more sign of promise heading into the future. Manchester City are currently in first position in the Premier League, Manchester United following in second place fighting to maintain their possession as Liverpool and Chelsea slowly gain points on them. Purchase your Football Tickets for the top four teams here at Football Ticket Pad.