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Patrice Evra laments Paul Pogba 'loss'

Patrice Evra believes that Paul Pogba was “a huge loss” to Manchester United, as Juventus president Andrea Agnelli has conceded it is going to be difficult for the club to hold on to the midfielder.

Paul Pogba scored for Juventus against Torino.
Paul Pogba left Manchester United for Juventus in 2012.

Rzouki: Juve's defence

Pogba left United for Juventus in 2012 when his contract at Old Trafford expired, and has since gone on to become a France international and a regular for the Bianconeri -- helping them to win Serie A last season.

But while the 20-year-old, who made seven appearances as a substitute, never started a game for United, Evra said the club’s senior players still had a high opinion of him.

Evra told TF1: “His [Pogba's] talent on the pitch, his aggression, his presence, is very rare. He very quickly earned the respect of players like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.

“It’s true that you have to win over the manager too, but to have won the dressing room like he did [was impressive]. It was truly a huge loss when he left the club.”

Meanwhile, lamenting the financial weakness of Italian football at present, Agnelli has said that Juventus’ resolve could well be tested in the coming years, and that it would be difficult for the club to say no if the right offer were to come in for a player such as Pogba.

“Italy’s no longer a final destination, but it’s a transit destination,” Agnelli said at the Leaders in Football Conference in London. “I’m trying to think of what will be of us in two or three years’ time if we get a massive offer for one of the best talents we’ve got today, Pogba, the French 20-year-old. Will we be able to retain him? I don’t know. I don’t think, at the moment, we have the strength to retain such a player.”

Juventus gained the most revenue from the last edition of the Champions League, raking in more than eventual winners Bayern Munich due to the market share of television rights, combined with the early elimination of AC Milan.

Yet not even that is enough to help the Bianconeri compete in a difficult financial climate, which Agnelli believes is hitting Italian football more than other leagues around Europe, due to the aging state of its infrastructure

Fan numbers are on the decrease and revenue from matchdays and commercial activities in and around the stadium are among the lowest in Europe, with Juve the only club in Italy to own their own ground.

“The main reform needed in Italian football is to improve the stadia,” Agnelli said. “Juventus and other clubs have got to be at the centre of political reform required to make our football grow. You can be attractive, but you’ve also got to have economic strength.

“If we look back at what Serie A was ten or 15 years ago, it was the league where all the top international players dreamed of playing. When I was studying in England, the games were being shown on TV here and everybody was talking about them. Times have changed.

“The Premier League of today is not the same as it was then, elsewhere German football has grown over the past decade. Spain have two of the most successful brands in the world and France can rely on foreign investment.”

Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio would likely benefit from an eventual sale of Pogba, but only to the extent that he would have less competition for a place in the team.

“He’s a precious young talent,” Marchisio said while on international duty with Italy. “He showed his potential last year and I hope to have him as a teammate for as long as possible.”

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