Manchester United have struggled to inspire confidence in the Premier League since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013. The 13-time winners have finished seventh, fourth and fifth in the last three seasons and the club acted quickly to end Louis van Gaal’s tenure early with one year remaining on his contract.
Cue a move for Jose Mourinho. The former Chelsea boss was sacked in December and has been waiting for the right position to come along – and there aren’t many bigger jobs than Manchester United. The Red Devils and Mourinho are a match made in heaven and the Portuguese manager is desperate to bring the title back to Old Trafford.
As things stand, United would find it incredibly difficult to win the title. They simply don’t have the players to compete with the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal or Tottenham, and it could be argued that Liverpool and Chelsea are also on a par with the 20-time English champions. If the Red Devils are to succeed next season, Mourinho will need to make drastic changes to the squad.
According to various reports, Juan Mata and Daley Blind may be the first two players to leave Old Trafford this summer. Mourinho is set to make at least three or four major signings and he will already have a general idea as to who he wants to stay and who is on the verge of leaving the club.
While Blind may feel a little aggrieved, Mata’s dismissal wouldn’t be a huge surprise. Mourinho allowed Mata to join United from Chelsea in January 2014 and he may dip into the transfer window for a new creative midfielder. If truth be told, Mata has struggled at times this season and Mourinho’s appointment may signal the end of his United career.
Meanwhile, the Reds have been linked with a number of moves – none bigger than a proposed bid for Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Sweden international is now a free agent and his excellent relationship with Mourinho has been well documented ever since the two huge personalities teamed up at Inter Milan. United could do much worse than to sign Zlatan – even if it was only for one or two years.
If nothing else, United will play entertaining football next year. David Moyes and Van Gaal both failed to excite the United fans but the Red Devils are now entering a new era: it’s Jose time. With Mourinho’s insistence on playing football the right way and winning trophies, United supporters will be flocking to ticket gum to purchase tickets for the upcoming season. After all, it certainly won’t get worse under Mourinho…
While it would be foolish to make any concrete predictions relating specifically to United’s title aspirations, the Red Devils will be confident of finishing back in the top four – thereby securing Champions League football for the 2017/18 campaign. But United and Mourinho’s entire ethos is about winning trophies and the Portuguese manager offers the Red Devils their best opportunity to get back to the summit of English football. And that’s a fact.