Jose Mourinho’s reign as the new Manchester United manager is now in full swing following his first press conference and a host of big name signings.
The Portuguese manager has already attracted Villarreal’s Eric Bailly, talismanic Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic and most recently the sought after Dortmund midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Old Trafford as he looks to re-build a United side that are capable of once again challenging for the title as they have done in years gone past.
If the rumours are to be true, the former Chelsea man’s next big signing could be that of former United player Paul Pogba – who is allegedly in talks with the club over an huge £100million move back to Manchester from current club Juventus.
Now while Mourinho indicated that his side needed ‘four signings’ to make his side ‘stable’ ahead of the next season – there is more work to be done at Old Trafford than just transfer business if he really is return the club to their former glories.
So here are his Mourinho’s top five priorities ahead of the new season ….
I know I just said that the Portuguese star needs to have more than transfers on his list of ‘things to do’, however you cannot deny that this a biggy.
Already having most of the work done, it is vital Mourinho makes his fourth and (potentially) final signing – although I doubt it will be – the right one.
United lacked that star quality and unity last season which was part of the reason they failed once again to reach the top four.
‘Number 9, 9 and a half, number 10’. All very confusing. Mourinho needs to clarify his captain’s position in the squad next season – especially seemings he has bought in players and has youth at his disposal that are more than capable of playing the Englishman’s favoured position.
Will he be a first team regular or a man off the bench? Failing to clarify this before the season begins could well be his undoing – it could be Ruud Gullit and Alan Shearer all over again.
One of United’s biggest pitfalls of the last three seasons has been there defence – with the possible exception of last campaign where they had a much improved defensive record.
However, inconsistency in the starting line-up was still prevalent, so Mourinho needs to decide on his firm back four in order that they can build a strong relationship and furthermore a strong foundation on which the rest of the squad is then built.
Heavily criticised for not bringing enough youth players into first team ranks in his time as a manager of some of Europe’s elite, Mourinho claimed he had done so with 49 individuals up until his winter departure from Chelsea.
Whether or not that is true or even exaggerated is a different issue, however with arguably United’s three best players last season – Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard – being 18, 20 and 23 respectively, where they lie amongst the incoming world stars is an issue that must be sorted.
This plays into the same question as to Rooney’s role, as the Englishman’s position and role in the squad could very much feed into what formation Mourinho opts for next season.
Does he go with two up front to accommodate for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford? Or a lone striker using Martial and Rashford as wide-men? What about his preferred 4-2-3-1 he employed so many times at his previous clubs?
More often than not Louis Van Gaal opted to change his formation from game-to-game early in his United career at it didn’t lead to much success on the park.