Giorgio Chiellini says he wanted Paul Pogba to “move through” Juventus when he came from Manchester United as a free agent in 2012, with no one expecting the Frenchman to become “such a champion.”
Although differences of opinion at Old Trafford led a young midfielder to seek options outside of Old Trafford, the Bianconeri won the race for a coveted signature.
Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini revealed that he didn’t expect much from World Cup winner Paul Pogba when he arrived in 2012: “I thought he was among those who passed by.”
The French midfielder arrived on a free transfer from Manchester United eight years ago and through his performances at Turin gradually established himself as one of the most sought-after talents in European football.
At that time, Pogba was a fairly unproven young man, with nothing to indicate that he would settle in Turin quickly and become a crucial part of a star-studded squad.
That, though, is precisely what happened, with four productive years in Italy leading to an £89 million ($110 m) record-breaking return to United in the summer of 2016.
In the second spell in England, the 27-year-old finds the going rough at times but is now a World Cup winner and a player capable of producing match-altering moments of excellence on his day.
Chiellini is one of Pogba’s many fans, with the Juve defender admitting to being left pleasantly surprised by the success enjoyed by an enigmatic talent that has sparked talk of a return to Italy is made.
Chiellini has recalled his first impressions of Pogba in August 2012 in his autobiography. “I recall walking in. My teammates and I looked at each other three or four days into the retreat and said: ‘This guy is really good.’
Pogba made 178 appearances over four seasons for Juventus, scoring 34 goals and winning four Serie A titles.