When Jose Mourinho was appointed as the new Manchester United manager last summer, English football fans went into panic mode. Were the Red Devils about to regain their spot at the top of the Premier League ladder? They needn’t have worried.
United, caught in two minds over their European commitments, struggled to inspire confidence and laboured to a sixth-placed finish, a bitter disappointment considering the hype surrounding the Red Devils during the early stages of the season. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Mourinho’s men: United were crowned Europa League champions at the end of a gruelling continental campaign – a victory that secured a place in next season’s Champions League competition.
Meanwhile, the Red Devils did embark on an epic unbeaten run, avoiding defeat in 25 consecutive Premier League games. With a couple of additions and tweaks, United have the ability, experience and managerial nous to get their hands back on the top flight crown.
According to various news outlets, Antoine Griezmann won’t be joining the Red Devils this summer but you can bet that Mourinho will have other world class targets on his transfer wish list. If you believe the rumours, Torino striker Andrea Belotti looks set to move to Old Trafford before the end of the window – and he may be United’s main man if Zlatan Ibrahimovic departs this summer. Belotti, still just 23 years old, was prolific last season, scoring 26 goals in league games. However, Torino’s asking price of £87 million for the youngster is ludicrous. With no real European experience, it would be a huge risk for the Red Devils to go diving in with a mammoth bid for the youngster…
As of June 7th, United are priced at around 3/1 to win the title next season and plenty of tipsters will be backing Mourinho’s men in the long run. However, the Red Devils haven’t won the domestic crown since 2013 and punters may have doubts over their ability to hold off their title rivals. Everybody knows that the Portuguese always mounts a challenge in his second year at a club but winning the title is a difficult task, especially with so many teams in the mix.
Defensively, United need stability and the returning Marcos Rojo should help to steady the ship. Eric Bailly is not without potential but he is young and rash. Right now, the Red Devils need reliability and a move for a world class defender may be on the cards. If Mourinho gets his way, somebody of John Terry’s mould may be destined for Old Trafford. Mourinho has got United fans dreaming again and the ‘fear factor’ has started to return. If the Red Devils can bolster their squad and turn a few of those home draws into victories, they won’t be far away from the title fight. Watch this space, Mourinho’s men are on the verge of something very ‘special’ indeed.