The imminent arrival of Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford is certainly a decision that will have the fans and media talking for what will be a long summer. The reign of Louis Van Gaal has not been a popular one amongst a vast majority of Manchester United fans so the decision to part ways with the experienced Dutchman seemingly looks to have gone down well among the fans. Van Gaal arrived with such big expectations, especially given his managerial record, unfortunately for him and Ed Woodward the expectancy has not been fulfilled. The Manchester United way has been questioned under Van Gaal; the brand of football they have played in the last two seasons has been poor and non-expansive, especially in the final third. The fact of the matter is that the Manchester United fans have been spoilt in the past with the success under the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson and to replicate such success and style would be difficult for any manager. The problem that they will come up against for the upcoming season and under the reign of Jose Mourinho is that this style or brand of football might not get any better.
Mourinho has developed his reputation in the world of football by getting results, not by playing an attractive beautiful game, but by simply knowing how to win games. Will this keep the Utd fans happy? Of course not, they will want to see the names arriving through the door at Old Trafford while also wanting to see the club develop the young players. Is Mourinho known for giving youth a chance? The answer again is no. The praise of Van Gaal giving the youth a chance is rather fickle, he had to play young players and when the more established experienced players who haven’t been delivering were fully fit were walking back in, with the exception of Marcus Rashford. What happens if Mourinho signs a 40+ million striker or if Zlatan Ibrahimovic goes to Old Trafford, will we hear about Rashford again? Manchester United as a club and the fans will have to accept the Mourinho methods, what brings him success, which over the years is having big characters with experience and having a set structure in the first two lines of his teams. Will this be enough to satisfy the Man United fans, I wouldn’t be so sure, gone are the days for the club to rely on what has happened in the past and just accept that the club is looking short term success to cement their reputation in the game around the world. With the appointment of Jose Mourinho we will once again see major changes at the club, both arriving and departing the club.
Questions will be asked about whom in the current squad Mourinho will look to sell on and replace. The more interesting side will be who Mourinho will look to add to this Manchester United squad. This current group of players is without question lacking the ability of world class ability. With the exception of David De Gea and Anthony Martial, the rest of the team has looked extremely average. Chris Smalling has been fantastic for the club but surely a top class partner would elevate his performance levels even further, Daley Blind has done an admirable job in the centre of defence but he is quite possibly the best distributor of the ball in the team and the best centre midfielder at the club filling a space in defence, surely he will move to his best position for the next season. The return of Luke Shaw will be like a new signing next season for Jose Mourinho, the start of the season looked so promising for Shaw and was showing just why the club spent 30 million to bring the player to the club. There are major decisions for Mourinho to make at the club but certainly he will look to add to this group of players at Old Trafford as they are currently so far away from the major clubs across Europe.
The arrival of Raphael Varane at Old Trafford could finally happen following the appointment of Mourinho. The Portuguese manager has expressed his admiration of the Real Madrid centre back for many years, at one point declaring that he will be the best centre back in the world of football. Ever since Varane emerged on the European scene Manchester United have been linked with the Frenchman however this summer might see just Varane depart Real Madrid. The lack of first team football has been evident when he has played this season, will he even start for France at the upcoming European Championships? This would signal a real decline for such a player with the ability of Varane, but the chance to join Old Trafford to link up yet again with Mourinho might just be a saving grace in the short career so far for Varane.
Another defender Mourinho has been linked with in the recent past while in charge at Stamford Bridge is the versatile Brazilian Marquinhos. The PSG defender has expressed his desire to leave the French club after a season of playing back-up to Thiago Silva and David Luiz at centre back and Serge Aurier for the right back spot. Marquinhos is another young defender with such a high regard amongst the elite clubs in Europe. The chance to play first team football would certainly appeal to the Brazilian and with respect he is better than what Man Utd already have in their ranks so he would surely start at Old Trafford. Linking up with Mourinho could appeal to young Brazilian especially after previous links in the past.
Gonzalo Higuaín is certainly going to a name linked with major clubs throughout Europe this summer especially after the season he produced at Napoli. 38 goals in 42 games this season is an unbelievable record and has to put him at the top of a lot of manager’s shortlist this summer. Recent speculation is that Higuaín looks set for a move to PSG to replace free agent Ibrahimovic however Mourinho might just fancy his chances of convincing Higuaín to join him at Old Trafford after managing the player during his time at Real Madrid. An out and out goal scorer is what Manchester United have needed for the last number of years, but if big money is spent on the Argentine or any other striker surely players might just question their own future’s in this position, Martial and Rashford would benefit from playing with the Napoli hit-man and would certainly propel their ability but on the other hand it could stifle their ability if they don’t play.
One player who will attract interest from all across this summer inevitably will be James Rodriguez. The Colombian was arguably the player of the tournament at the last World Cup and as a result found himself a big money move to Real Madrid, however due to a lack of respect for the talent of Rodriguez and the spotlight needed for Ronaldo at the Bernabéu his future at Real Madrid looks to be over. Rodriguez has been a player who since he moved to Porto has been a player who could play in any side in Europe, but this summer will see big movements for his signature. Mourinho would be foolish not to consider trying to bring the frontman to the club. Playing behind a number nine would bring the best out of Rodriguez and is a position that Man Utd have struggled with all season, the players in that role this season have been looked out of their depth, Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney and Ander Herrera has all shown their inability to dictate a game from this position so the chance to sign a player with such quality should not be sniffed at by the club or by Mourinho.
Despite not playing Champions League football next season the draw to play for such a massive club like Manchester United is easy to sell to players, and now with the opportunity to play for a manager with the reputation of Jose Mourinho adding quality to this Manchester United should be obtainable for the club. The issue with this appointment for the club is the lack of direction in the long term, if they find short term success under the guidance of Mourinho then Manchester United and their fans can expect to be in this position once again.