It could have been the defining season of the Jose Mourinho era at Manchester United but it’s been a huge non-starter bar the signing of Fred. Why has this happened? This summer is very painfully reminiscent of that summer when we paid over the odds to sign Marouane Fellaini. For all the talk of a ‘clearance sale’ to having a transfer budget of 170m boosted by sales, it has come down almost nothing. So, the question arises – what has gone wrong at Old Trafford this summer?
I think the guilt lies at the hands of the Board. For the first time in years, there is growing dissent among the fanbase over the way the Glazer administration run this club. From overpaying for sub-United quality players in the pre-Jose Mourinho years to refusing to pay a couple million pounds more for genuine world beaters like Toby Alderweireld, Alex Sandro and even Ivan Perisic last summer. So how do we expect to even close the gap to City who just went out and signed Riyad Mahrez for 60m in a position where they already have Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling. Astonishing would be understating it.
Manchester United have been topping the revenue charts in football for quite some time but where has all that money gone? To pay off a debt? I’d think not because that amount has been at the same level for the past couple of years.
With Liverpool backing their manager and signing Keita, Fabinho and Allison (you just know that these three will fit into Liverpool like a glove), Chelsea getting a new manager (these lot always do well in a new manager’s first season), it would not be a wrong to suggest that United may miss out on a Champions League spot next season. And obviously, if that happens, the scapegoat will be Mourinho and “his brand of football”. But come on, is this as bad as the Moyes or van Gaal era? There is actually a place where United are striving to go to under Mourinho unlike under the previous two regimes. There aren’t many fans of the style of play under Jose Mourinho including me, but it’s a bitter pill in the short run. This man has taken us from a spine of Smalling-Schweinsteiger-Carrick-Rooney-Depay to one of Bailly-Matic-Pogba-Martial-Lukaku. Nine out of ten times Mourinho will make the right signing if he is backed in the market. For everyone who whined about us chasing Persic last summer will know deep down that we could have gotten a quality player. But then again, it was a matter of United failing to agree on a fee with Inter Milan.
That has become quite the norm at United, isn’t it? Unite wanting to pay 55m for Toby Alderweireld, a player who is considered to be a Top 3 defender in the Premier League, and Spurs wanting 60m. Then there is Alex Sandro where United reportedly agreed to personal terms with the player’s representatives but then failing to meet Juve’s asking price for one of the best left-backs in football at the moment.
Pay the money, get the players the manager wants and leave no room for excuses on that front. You just know that at the slightest of mishaps this season, Mourinho’s football will be blamed and then Mourinho will blame the lack of transfers. Why give Jose Mourinho that much room to work with. Get him the players he wants and if he doesn’t deliver then let him walk!
What annoyed me the most was catching Ed Woodward in the stands at Wimbledon during the peak summer transfer window. Come on Ed! Get your game face on and make a few signings rather than enjoying in the two months where he has to actually work for the entire year!
I am really not optimistic heading into the season given the lack of signings. The problems from last season are still not addressed – an experienced centre-back, a half decent left-back and a right-winger. And honestly, it could be a long and toxic season for United fans. Everything being said, I can only hope and pray for the best and of course a couple of splashes in the transfer window.