EPL

Jose Mourinho’s Summer Spending Spree

Jose Mourinho’s Summer Spending Spree
Sean Taylor

  • Jose Mourinho is on his way back to the Premier League.
  • Louis van Gaal appeared to confirm his time was up at Manchester United telling reporters on Sunday “it’s over” as talk about his impending exit from Old Trafford intensifies.
  • Mourinho is the next ‘Chosen One’ and will follow the Dutchman with the Portuguese’s superagent Jorge Mendes said to be jetting in this week.

So as the Mourinho era edges ever closer it’s time to look at just what his Manchester United team will look like. As ever when a new manager comes in there’s likely to be plenty of movement, both in and out.

 

Here’s what the Special One could be looking to do in this summer’s transfer market.

Outs

Juan Mata

The obvious choice.

The wonderfully gifted Spaniard’s boyish charms were lost on Mourinho at Chelsea and he is unlikely to have warmed to them much since then.

Mata’s subtleness isn’t suited to Mourinho’s more sledgehammer style and he’ll likely be given the heave ho sooner rather than later once the Portuguese gets his feet under the table.

 

Juan Mata shows a look of dejection after missing a chance

Kieran McManus / BPI

Marcos Rojo

This isn’t because of style or managerial preference, it’s simply because Rojo isn’t very good.

It’s hard to imagine Mourinho tolerating a defender who seemingly is so bad at defending, given the Portuguese’s love of the art.

He may survive the early cull while replacements are found but he doesn’t seem long for Old Trafford.

Photo by Julian Finney

Adnan Januzaj

Few have fallen so far so quickly as Januzaj. Just a few years ago the Belgian was the toast of United academy and was a match-winner straight out the gate with a brace at Sunderland.

But as David Moyes made way for Louis van Gaal so seemingly went Januzaj’s chances of ever making it at Old Trafford.

Mourinho has better options available to him in Januzaj’s position and won’t stand in his way as he nears the exit door.

Photo by Matthew Peters

Morgan Schneiderlin

A £25million signing last summer Schneiderlin impressed in patches in his first season with the club but it’s fair to say he didn’t pull up any trees either.

Solid if unspectacular the Frenchman may avoid the axe with Michael Carrick already on his way but if a big name midfielder or two arrive then he could well be out.

Photo by Ian Walton

Memphis Depay

Mourinho doesn’t do one trick ponies and if that one trick is cutting in and binning one in the stands then his patience will be particularly thin.

Depay doesn’t do nearly enough defending for Mourinho’s liking. Add in the off-field head-turning and it looks more than likely that Depay will be one and done in Manchester.

Ins

Raphael Varane

Despite a league-best defence it seems likely that Mourinho will look to improve the backline with one or two new faces.

Chief among them could be Real Madrid man Varane whom he worked with in the Spanish capital. The Frenchman looks to be on the move this summer after falling down the pecking order under Zinedine Zidane.

Mourinho is a fan and with a move seemingly suiting both sides even Ed Woodward might be able to get the deal over the line.

Karim Benzema

Getty Images

John Stones

The Everton defender has endured a deeply disappointing season with the Toffees but remains one of the brightest talents in the country.

Mourinho is well aware of that and put £40million where his mouth was when at Chelsea last summer. A bid in the same region this offseason would surely see him get his man.

John Stones and Alex Iwobi battle for the ball

Peter Byrne/PA Wire

William Carvalho

If you’ve perused any gossip column for the last half decade then you’ve probably seen the Sporting starlet’s name once or twice.

After Renato Sanches’ move to Bayern Carvalho is probably the next most highly coveted young midfielder in world football.

Add in a certain superagent and this looks like a deal that could well get done.

Photo by Julian Finney

Gonzalo Higuain

Manchester United need goals. Desperately.

The Red Devils boasted a stout rearguard this season – despite a varied cast of characters. It was at the other end that the problem lied.

It took a 19-year-old to get them going and an 18-year-old to fire them to the verge of the top four. That must improve next season.

If it’s goals you’re after then there are few better at getting them then Higuain is your man. Fresh from breaking an age-old Serie A record the Argentine won’t come cheap but Mourinho likes him and money has never been United’s problem.

Photo by Francesco Pecoraro

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

This one arguably makes too much sense.

Ibrahimovic is on the move this summer after a glittering spell in France and has suitors all over the globe fluttering their eyelashes in his direction.

Cash is king in the land of Zlatan, of course, but should he choose to go with his heart over his wallet then a reunion with Mourinho would be high on his list.

“My only regret is that we were together for only one year,” says Zlatan of his single season under Mourinho at Inter Milan. He may well get his wish now.

But what will happen when he is? Here are a handful of guarantees.

1. David De Gea will stay

This might be the biggest plus point of Mourinho’s imminent arrival. De Gea’s on then off then on again and then off again transfer to Real Madrid has been a shadow hanging over the club for far too long. That seems certain to lift with Jose in town.

Jorge Mendes, Mourinho’s agent, is soon to become a very powerful man at Old Trafford and counts the Spanish goalkeeper as one of his many clients.

Having two of his most profile men at the same club is sure to appeal while Mourinho is unlikely to want to lose such a key figure so early in his tenure.

Manchester United's David De Gea celebrates winning the FA Cup with Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard, Michael Carrick and Juan Mata

Action Images via Reuters

2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic will join

Perhaps less of a “will” happen than a “likely to”. Ibrahimovic is on the move this summer after a glittering spell in France and has suitors all over the globe fluttering their eyelashes in his direction.

Cash is king in the land of Zlatan, of course, but should he choose to go with his heart over his wallet then a reunion with Mourinho would be high on his list.

“My only regret is that we were together for only one year,” says Zlatan of his single season under Mourinho at Inter Milan. He may well get his wish now.

 

Paris St Germain's Zlatan Ibrahimovic after scoring

Reuters

3. It won’t get any prettier

Jose’s teams are always built from back to front and have consistently placed a heavy emphasis on defending.

United’s rearguard isn’t as bad as you might think – they had the joint best defence in the Premier League last season. It’s the other end that was the problem all year long.

It’s not exciting. It’s not flamboyant. It’s not remotely entertaining. But unlike Van Gaal’s all too similar playing style Mourinho’s actually works. They will score more goals – but not many more.

Photo by Michael Regan

4. The production line will take a hit

It has been one of the major concerns over Mourinho’s record elsewhere that he has brought through very few players from the youth teams at clubs where he was manager.

And the few example of him doing so are often during highly-toxic situations – remember the promotion of Antonio Adán at the expense of Iker Casillas during Real Madrid’s Mourinho-inspired civil war.

One of the few bright spots at Old Trafford this year has been the amount of young blood that has been thrust into the first team, so Mourinho would be expected to at least find some sort of middle ground.

Manchester United's Chris Smalling, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Marcos Rojo celebrate winning the FA Cup

PA: Manchester United’s Chris Smalling, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Marcos Rojo celebrate winning the FA Cup

5. They will win the title – and then he’ll leave

This is almost a guarantee on both fronts.

Everywhere Mourinho has gone he’s won the league. Like night following day come May Mourinho will be holding the trophy aloft.

But, again like night following day, it will all almost certainly go wrong in a blaze of bad blood and bitterness.

Reference back to Chelsea (2013-2015).

Manchester United know what they’re getting into bed with – a relentless winner with a boatload of baggage. In their eyes he’s worth the latter for the promise of the former.

 

 

                            


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EPL
Sean Taylor
@garbersports

Garber Sports Chief Editor

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