The board seems to have received a wake up call, after Jose Mourinho publicly acknowledged the gulf between Juventus and Manchester United.
This summer transfer window had been relatively quiet compared to the previous ones as there were only three notable additions, namely, Fred and Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant. And Mourinho kept on bringing up the topic of how he was denied to bring in another centre-back in almost every press conference during the preseason. He publicly claimed that the options he has at centre-back aren’t good enough, and neither of Victor Lindelof or Eric Bailly have put in consistently good performances to prove otherwise.
The Portuguese somewhat made a scapegoat out of Bailly and Lindelof; and whenever there was a disappointing result for the club, he’d remind the board about why he needs a new centre-half.
As the summer transfer window came to it’s closing point, the board were frantically approaching any player they could.
During the window, there were talks about four different centre-halves who could potentially have moved to the club with the likes of Raphael Varane, Toby Alderweireld, Harry Maguire and Jerome Boateng being linked with moves to United.
United’s hierarchy believe they were largely justified in vetoing Mourinho’s summer targets. They are prepared to do the same again in January, but a compromise could come in the form of Maguire #mufc https://t.co/V861q53m2u
— James Robson (@jamesrobsonES) November 1, 2018
Mourinho wished for another forward to ease the pressure off of Romelu Lukaku for goals, and another defender to strengthen his defense, which was the second best in the division after City last season.
The former Chelsea boss had attended the Serbia vs Montenegro match in October, reportedly scouting Nikola Milenkovic, currently of Fiorentina and Lazio’s Sergej Milenkovic-Savic.
During the preseason, the Red Devils were constantly linked with Alex Sandro and Danny Rose as the left-back situation failed to resolve with Ashley Young playing in that position for almost half of last season, who’s a 33-year-old failed winger by trade. But Luke Shaw had impressed in the preseason friendlies, and has solidified the left-back spot as his own since the season started.
Meanwhile, Anthony Martial was reportedly on his way out with his contract expiring in the summer of 2019, but had turned the tide around, at least temporarily, with putting up a run of good performances. And the contract talks hanging in the balance with Martial already rejecting the first offer.
On the other hand, with Lindelof putting up an almost man of the match performance against Juventus and keeping up the same against Everton, it might be possible that he could be beginning to show, why Mourinho broke the record fee paid by United for a defender. Fred and Dalot have ten appearances between them, with the latter suffering through injury, and the former struggling to break into the team. This does not look like a good sign for them, with the Old Trafford outfit already under fire, they could well be in the firing line for failing to deliver up to the task.
Seems like sacrilege to say this, but Woodward is right. #MUFC have overspent on wages for Sanchez, Zlatan, Matic (wrong ages) and must look at 20-25 age bracket — and ideally cheaper options found by good scouting.
The Mourinho backers are wrong.https://t.co/rZ8BbnYN7A
— Dominic Booth (@DomBooth19) November 1, 2018
The current contract situation won’t shy away easily with Shaw, being the only player who has renewed his contract with the club, with David De Gea and Martial rejecting theirs.
“I am not confident,: said Jose about De Gea’s situation. “I cannot find the word in English, but let’s see what happens.”
With the last winter transfer window being a disaster, as Alexis Sanchez failed to recreate his Arsenal performances since his move to Old Trafford, things look very bleak for the ex-Real Madrid manager so far in the transfer market.