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Paul Pogba for President

18th May, 2012

Paul Pogba: tall and French

Manchester United’s teenage midfielder Paul Pogba is apparently on his way to Juventus.

This blog has never seen Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba play. What kind of midfielder is he? Is he a dexterous weaver, calmly and patiently using the pitch as a loom on which to create patterns of beguiling intricacy? Is he a sinewy carver, ruthlessly slicing his way through the opposition with pace and precision? Is he a sturdy guardsman, cynically denying entry to his penalty area? Which foot does he prefer? What is his range of passing?

Silly Luxury Player. There was a painfully obvious answer to all of these questions, if this blog had only cared to think about it. Paul Pogba is quite clearly a carbon copy of Patrick Vieira. The similarities are quite striking. Vieira is tall, as is Pogba. Vieira is French, as is Pogba. And Vieira is black, as, yup, you guessed, is Pogba.  Pogba is clearly a younger version of his now-retired countryman.

Let’s be clear here. Pogba has been regarded as one of the best young prospects of his generation. People have compared him to a young Patrick Vieira. (The Bleacher Report)

Patrick Vieira: the original tall Frenchman

You couldn’t be any clearer, sir. This blog must though confess to  having been twice bitten, as it recalls seeing Abou Diaby playing for Arsenal and assuming, from his preference for advanced positions on the pitch, his surprising ability to accelerate past opponents and his desire to move the quickly with the ball towards the penalty area, that he was an attacking midfielder who had modelled his game to an extent on the Brazilian attacking midfielder Kaká’s.

This upstart blog was soon put in its place by clever pundits who noted that Abou Diaby was in fact the very sort of player that Patrick Vieira had been in his pomp. The fact that Vieira was a tough-tackling defensive organiser inclined to stay much closer to his defence and who took a veritable age to reach top speed really counted for nothing. Diaby, like Vieira, was tall, French and black, and this, clearly, was incontrovertible evidence for the similarity of their playing styles. Indeed, those “people” cited by the Bleacher Report above have clearly done their homework and done it thoroughly. Possibly they are same “observers” keeping the Telegraph on the cutting edge of football journalism:

Pogba, 18, had been regarded as the most promising youngster within Manchester United’s youth set-up, with many observers comparing him to a young Patrick Vieira. (The Telegraph)

Perhaps these same students of the beautiful game, and who is your humble blog to dispute their insight, will have drawn similar connections between other players. How about former midfield maestro Michel Platini and former midfield destroyer Didier Deschamps? Both shortish, white and French: clearly two peas in a pod. What about average-sized, white and English midfield creator Paul Gascoigne, and his current reincarnation, the average-sized, white and English midfield clogger Gareth Barry.

Clearly height, nationality and skin colour have the power, more than any other factors, to bind two men together. This highlights the mistake that the French have recently made in choosing one short, white member of their number in François Hollande, to replace an equally short white Frenchman in Nicolas Sarkozy. They were probably swayed by the election-coverage equivalent of unsubstantiated third-rate observations like this one:

Paul Pogba, a languid playmaker, is widely compared to Patrick Vieira on the grounds that he’s French, tall, black and, er, that’s it. (The Guardian)

Napoleon Bonaparte: the anti-Pogba

Don’t believe the left-wing media conspiracy. Which is why, if the people of France want genuine change, they might just get behind a future Paul Pogba presidency to end a succession, which possibly runs back at least as far as Napoleon Bonaparte, of small, white men running their country. In the years that separate the election just past from the one to come, however, Pogba may do well to emulate Vieira by moving to Italy at the Juventus stage of the elder midfielder’s career, rather than, as the Italian Eurosport website were suggesting last November, by going to Milan as Vieira did early in his professional life. “A new Vieira for Milan?” ran the headline. Presumably if Pogba were to pick Milan, then, just like the original Vieira, he would languish on the bench for a season, before being sold to Arsenal for a song.

Which would be daft, seeing as in Abou Diaby Arsenal still have the original new Vieira.

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