The last few seasons have not been vintage ones for Manchester United fans. A string of questionable signings coupled with the departure of key players has seen the team descend into mediocrity.
Man United have struggled to rebuild after Ferguson left the club in 2013. In truth, the squad Ferguson possessed in his last season in charge was one already on the wane – ageing and lacking some true quality. It was perhaps inevitable that a slump would follow.
However, this summer seems to be a turning point. Backed by a massive transfer war chest, United have made some very impressive signings. Along with the rising stars nurtured under Louis van Gaal, Mourinho is assembling a squad with the capability of seriously challenging for major honours.
Big name signings
United have shown their intent with a series of high-profile signings. First of these was Zlatan Ibrahimović. A legend with a proven goalscoring record wherever he has been, he can really add firepower to the attack. He is also a born leader and may be able to add some backbone and swagger to the team.
Ibrahimović is complimented by 27-year-old attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Armenian captain was brought over from Borussia Dortmund for £30m. A technically gifted and creative player, he is excellent at creating space and chances for strikers. He also knows how to find the net himself. A tally of 11 goals and five assists in the Bundesliga last season is an impressive return and if you are looking to place a bet on him giving that sort of return this season at United, bonus codes can be found here.
Mourinho has also added steel to the defence with the £30m signing of Ivorian Eric Bailly. One of the hottest defensive prospects around, he was pivotal to Villarreal’s impregnable backline last year.
On top of this, United look likely to sign Paul Pogba. I have written before about how I feel the fee of over £100m is inflated. I stand by this. Nevertheless, there is no denying that Pogba would be a top-class recruit. The fact that United will beat the likes of Barcelona for his signature shows just how big of a deal this is. Pogba would be a welcome addition to the midfield, especially with Michael Carrick entering the twilight of his career.
Existing quality in the squad
These new signings come into a squad which already has much promise in it. Last season saw the emergence of Marcus Rashford as United’s main striker. Fast, tenacious and immensely talented, he will be looking to really kick on this year under Mourinho. It will be interesting to see what kind of partnership he could form with Ibrahimovic.
Similarly, Anthony Martial was one of the breakout stars of the Premier League last term. His pace and skill bamboozled countless defences. Chris Smalling also established himself as a rock in the defence and the back four will surely be built around him.
Rooney will be looking to put a disappointing international campaign behind him and carry on his good form from the end of last season. Whether this is in centre midfield or upfront will be up to Mourinho. Whatever happens, Rooney will remain the captain, and central to the new manager’s plans.
Cause for optimism
With a blend of youth and experience, and world-class talent in abundance, this team has all the attributes to challenge for the title.
We have had false dawns before. The underwhelming return from Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao come to mind but with a proven winner at the helm in the form of Mourinho, there is a sense genuine optimism ahead.