It has been confirmed that Paul Pogba will miss eight to ten weeks of action after suffering a thigh injury while away with France.
The incident happened in training, and early reports suggest the Manchester United midfielder will now be forced to sit out the rest of 2021.
He joined up with Didier Deschamps’ team for France’s World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Finland, but will no longer take part.
The injury occurred during a shooting drill, and while some indications suggest he could be back before the New Year, that seems highly unlikely, and a return in 2022 is expected. Even coming back at the start of January is deemed far-fetched, and it seems as though Pogba will be back at the end of January.
This means Pogba will miss the busy English Christmas schedule, and leave Ole Gunnar Soslkjaer’s side a little light in central midfield. The likes of Scott McTominay and Fred will be relied upon even more, and rest will be rare for those two.
Pogba is currently joint-top of the Premier League assist charts, with Mohamed Salah, but has been serving a suspension thanks to his red card in the 5-0 home defeat to Liverpool. That suspension still has one more game left, but given this injury, that doesn’t matter.
Man Utd are experiencing a difficult start to the 2021/22 season, and losing their record signing is another blow.
But, which games will Pogba actually miss?
The 17 games Pogba could miss
The sheer mass of games Pogba will miss is perhaps the most worrying part, but he will be absent for some crucial matches as well – Premier League games against Chelsea and Arsenal, as well as the conclusion of of the Champions League group stages.
Luckily, Pogba won’t miss too many high-profile games, with Man Utd facing the likes of Norwich, Newcastle, and Burnley while he’ll be recovering.
However, they have tended to slip up in so-called ‘easier games’ in recent years, and their hopes of a top four finish could be in danger by the time Pogba returns.
Depending on how long Pogba’s return to fitness takes, the club may opt to dive into the January transfer market, or give minutes to Donny van de Beek, who has found game-time hard to come by since moving to England.
This injury will be the fourth one in Pogba’s Man Utd career that will see him miss 10 or more games. In 2019/20, he suffered two separate ankle injuries that kept him out for a combined 36 games, while last season a hamstring injury saw him miss 10 matches.
Pogba’s contract at Old Trafford expires next summer, so unless he signs a new deal, he will leave for free. Injury in potentially his final season isn’t exactly ideal.