It is pretty safe to say that nobody would have predicted this bad of a season so far for Manchester United in August.
The results against Brighton & Hove Albion and West Ham United were among the worst performances in this very dreary post-Ferguson era. The derby against Manchester City indicated the growing divide between the Manchester sides.
City’s decisive and clear transfer policy was right in front of our eyes, while the lack of United’s was also clear to see. The argument whether United would be in a different position under Pep Guardiola is always going to be discussed but that isn’t even the issue. Pep inherited a solid squad which were easy to work with, Mourinho did not.
If there was any take away from the summer window for United, it was that Jose knew where the main weakness was in the side, the defence.
That weakness has been violated time and time again so far this season. There is no clear partnership there, while certain defenders are left in the cold with no way back. Marcos Rojo was stripped of his number five shirt in the hope that United could sign Harry Maguire, somebody that would surely sort this defensive mess out.
Rojo won’t be a United player by this time next year, whether he is sold in January or the summer. Others could easily follow as there is still dead-wood that needs to be removed. Phil Jones and Chris Smalling could easily follow Rojo through the exit door.
Harry Maguire will yet again be muted as a possible arrival; he enjoyed a brilliant World Cup and has gone on to be one of the best defenders in the league. Maguire would be a great signing for the Red Devils but his fee will again be the big stumbling block. Leicester won’t accept anything under the £60 million that they were asking for in August.
He would present a great valued signing considering his age, his potential and the amount he would improve United. Defenders win silverware, that’s the bottom line.
Toby Alderweireld is another option. However, he looks to be settled at Spurs again following the summer of talks linking him to Old Trafford. The Spurs ace signed a new contract at the Lane, meaning United missed their chance on him.
If United were to miss out or not make a move with Maguire, another potential signing which has been spoken about in the media is Andreas Granqvist. The Sweden captain had a brilliant World Cup and led his country to the quarter finals. There is no doubting that he potentially could do well at United, and the relationship between himself and Victor Lindelof is already there, meaning it would be a smart move.
It is clearly not a long-term plan as the defender is 33 years old. Financially it would be an easy move to make happen with the Swede entering his last year of his contract at Helsingborg IF, no doubting he would jump at the chance to play at the biggest club in the world for a few years.
It would represent a smart idea for United to aim for the Swedish captain as a six-month plan to ensure that qualification is made for next season’s Champions League, because if United don’t achieve that then the calibre of players that are needed will be harder to acquire.
Away from defensive reinforcements, United may also look to sign a new right sided midfielder. United are overwhelmed with left sided players, but Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Alexis Sanchez are all more influential on the left, being able to cut in on their right foot.
One player that could potentially make the move is Marko Arnautovic. The Austrian has been deployed as an emergency striker for West Ham this season but his rightful position is out wide.
There have been rumblings of Arnautovic wanting to make ‘the next step.’ The Austrian would also be free to play in the latter rounds of the Champions League which would entice United even more, as the Champions League is one of the Red’s only hopes of silverware this season- albeit very unlikely. This is seen as the most likely destination for the Austrian within the special transfer betting markets.
January will be key, not just for United but for Jose also. Anything less than perfect recruitment could see the Red Devils miss out on the Champions League spots, which would surely spell the end of the Mourinho tenure.
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