The Guinea international has signed a two-year contract with the Mariners.
ATK Mohun Bagan stunned the Indian football fraternity with the announcement of their latest marquee signing, Pogba. No, not THAT Paul Pogba. But instead, they’ve roped in his elder brother, Florentin Pogba, on a two-year contract. He might not have the reputation of his brother, but the 31-year-old is still a lucrative acquisition.
Florentin has played the majority of his career in France, having played in Ligue 1 for Saint-Etienne in the past. Pogba, a centre-back, brings tonnes of experience to the Mariners squad and the ability to thrive in big-match situations.
He’s played in the UEFA Europa League and for many years in Ligue 1, playing against the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar. The Guinea international will be an asset for the Mariners as they aim to win the Indian Super League (ISL) title next season.
The 31-year-old centre-back has enjoyed an 11+ year professional career. Florentin Pogba came through the Celta Vigo youth academy. He also spent a few years in the French club Sedan’s academy. In fact, his professional debut was for Sedan, for whom he made over 40 appearances and scored 4 goals.
After impressing at Sedan for a few seasons, he joined Saint-Etienne in 2012. He was loaned back to Sedan for the 2012/13 season before properly joining Saint-Etienne.
Pogba spent the next five years with the Ligue 1 side. He made almost 100 appearances for them in Ligue 1. Florentin was a regular for them in the 2015/16 season, in which they conceded just 37 goals from 38 games.
He joined MLS side Atlanta United in the 2019/20 campaign. Pogba won the only silverware of his career with the American team. The centre-back helped them win the US Open Cup and Campeones Cup in 2019. After a spell with Atlanta United’s reserves, he went back to France by joining Sochaux-Montbeliard in 2020.
The Guinea international spent the last few years with the Ligue 2 side. He made 65 appearances and kept his spot as a regular for them. After leaving Sochaux in the summer, Pogba will embark on a new journey with ATKMB.
Type of player
Florentin is a versatile defender, most comfortable as a centre-back. The 31-year-old can play in either of the centre-back positions. He is physical, commanding and loves to play the ball out of the backline.
Pogba is quite alert and aggressive in his defensive style. He loves to make key interceptions, jump into challenges and harass the strikers constantly. He is pretty solid in winning key duels, both ground duels as well as aerial challenges.
Florentin also loves the ball at his feet. He has the tendency to march forward deep into the opposition half and dribble past players. Pogba can also play as a left-back if needed, having the ability to go up and down the pitch.
The 31-year-old’s distribution is varied and accurate too. He loves flinging long balls high up the pitch to help his attackers. He can even take set-pieces if needed, possessing a wicked delivery into the box.
What does he bring to the team?
Along with Brendan Hamill, Pogba is the second foreign centre-back roped in by the Mariners. The major reason is that they played the majority of last season with just one natural centre-back (Tiri). Now that the Spaniard is injured, Juan Ferrando has ensured he has centre-backs who know their roles perfectly.
While he can operate as a left-back, Pogba is expected to play centrally for ATKMB. He brings a lot of top-level experience, having played in the French Ligue 1 for so many years. Florentin also oozes confidence, meaning he’ll motivate those around him to be braver on the ball. The 31-year-old should help improve ATKMB’s defensive record.
With his strong physical attributes and clever game-reading ability, he’ll bring more composure to the defence. Pogba’s stint in the MLS, where he helped Atlanta United finish third, proves he can adapt well to other countries.
The Frenchman should be comfortable against the ISL forwards, as he boasts enough pace and power to deal with them. But importantly, the 31-year-old is comfortable enough with the ball to thrive in Ferrando’s system.
Florentin loves going forward with the ball and helping play it out of the back. He possesses a great long-passing range. Pogba can fill in Tiri’s role of progressing the ball from defence to attack efficiently. He’ll also be a set-piece threat and contribute some goals to ATKMB as well.
The 31-year-old’s expertise and knowledge can greatly influence the Mariners’ next season. He’ll probably be a regular for them and will look to use his wide-range passing style and sturdy defensive nature to help the Mariners be one of the best defensive teams in the league.