Blog Written by Alessandro Pugliese (@sandro_pugliese):
Even though Manchester United is set to break the single transfer fee record for the signature of Paul Pogba, Juventus won't miss him as much as the fee suggests. Pogba is a very talented, 23-year-old flashy midfielder with incredible worldwide marketability and favored to win a Ballon D'Or in the future, yet Juventus will be happy to take the money and run.
The Bianconeri already signed the attacking-minded, creative midfielder Miralem Pjanic from Roma earlier this summer by exercising his release clause of €32 million. Pjanic is a world-class talent who will certainly be able to replicate, if not improve upon, Pogba's offensive production. Pogba and Pjanic led Serie A last season with 12 assists each.
So with Pjanic's services already secured, Juventus are reportedly looking to sign a more defensive-minded midfielder. Blaise Matiudi, Nemanja Matic, Luiz Gustavo and Axel Witsel are the top names being mentioned. If Juve do end up signing one of these midfielders, the club won't be missing Pogba on the field too much in my opinion. A midfield consisting of Claudio Marchisio, Sami Khedira, Miralem Pjanic, Mario Lemima, Kwadwo Asamoah and a possible new signing would be one of the best in Europe. Despite losing Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo and now Paul Pogba, Juventus have been able to find suitable replacements.
But perhaps Pogba's most influential impact might be off the field, a factor into his astronomical price tag. He is a superstar recognized worldwide and a phenomenal marketable icon. Juventus had the seventh most jersey sales during the 2015-16 season with Pogba as their highest seller. Many younger fans around the world have become familiar with Juventus in recent times because of Pogba. Don’t forget that the Calciopoli scandal knocked Juve off the world football scene for about five years or so but signing the likes of Pogba, Pirlo and Vidal helped put the club from Turin back on the world map.
Pogba’s influence has even helped the Italian champions expand their social media reach. @Andreank91 on Twitter, who reports on Juve stats and news, said that the official Juventus Twitter account gained 37,500 followers a week after Euro 2016. Meanwhile, before the tournament the club averaged a gain of 16,500 new followers a week. The saga surrounding Pogba’s transfer presumably has played a significant factor in the high increase of followers.
The brilliance of Juve’s management is that they already strengthen each position on their roster this summer even before announcing the mega-sale of Paul Pogba; Dani Alves on a free transfer, Mehdi Benatia on loan (with option to buy), Miralem Pjanic from Roma, Marko Pjaca from Dinamo Zagreb and Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli. With a possible addition of another midfielder their mercato should be pretty wrapped up, excluding the possible sales of a few fringe players. Doing smart business for yet another summer, sporting director Beppe Marotta and company have spent their available funds wisely while in a timely fashion.
As great a talent that Paul Pogba is, Juventus will be able to replace him on the field and have continued success. But he will be sorely missed off the field, where he has helped the club’s global outreach and recognition. As former Juventus midfielder Marco Tardelli told La Stampa last summer, “Players come and go but the club remains.”