Fortunately, when we say X-Factor, we aren’t talking about their torturous nonsense on ITV, we are thinking of the big name signings that Manchester United seem unable to compete for anymore. Can the impending Jose Mourinho make the Red Devils a desirable place to play once again?
Manchester United have been in relative turmoil since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, but Jose Mourinho’s suave arrogance and unquestionable guarantee of success could briefly stabilise a club that is begging for a return to the European elite. The eventual downfall of Louis van Gaal was calamitous for the club, the business and image of Manchester United, leaving Jose Mourinho’s apparent heroic arrival seeming all the more necessary. A club that has become as accustomed to success as a shark is to water are on the precipice of a footballing collapse, a period without Champions League football, an era with Old Trafford being a welcoming place for visitors rather than a fire-breathing dragon’s den that it was under Fergie. The self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ has a mountain to climb at the Theatre of Dreams, but he fortunately has the financial support to give him a leg up the initial slope.
The battles for Thiago, Cesc Fabregas and Renato Sanches are significant blots on the current Manchester United transfer book. Gone are the days when the Old Trafford side could launch a bid with the assurance of success, and it is now a challenge to attract players away from clubs who can compete financially and exceed the Red Devils on the pitch. Mourinho will, to an extent, help to address this. Although he does not have the bait of Champions League football, the name of a manager with such a penchant for success should be enough to slightly readdress the tide in United’s favour.
Mourinho, as you may expect, will be given a transfer kitty that will put to shame many of their rivals. In a summer when we expect extraordinary investment across the Premier League, Manchester United can be expected to be one of the leading cash-splashers. His transfer record of late has been patchy, mind. Big money does not mean that it will all change when it comes to attracting stars for United, but Mourinho’s presence will, surely, be enough to slightly adjust the status quo. This is all before you even begin to consider the hidden dictator of European football, Jorge Mendes.
Mendes, who has a hand on a extravagant selection of Europe’s finest, is Mourinho’s agent and one of the modern day ‘super agents’ of European football. His power cannot be underestimated. Mendes can make or break deals, he can simply control the movement of players and he will do it for which ever club best fits is own needs. Manchester United may well see Mendes’ clients flood through the door during this summer and if you want to know how influential that could be, just have a look at his clientèle.
The X-Factor will return under Mourinho. The Portuguese manager’s first season outside the Champions League does not mean anything for players who have true faith in his ability. A driving force in any transfer will be the manager at the helm and players will know a move to a Mourinho team will guarantee Champions League football next season.