The 53-year-old has already signed 22-year-old centre back Eric Bailly for £30m, but is now intent on complimenting the youngster’s raw ability and potential with an experienced head at the back.
So with the deal for Paul Pogba all but sealed, Mourinho’s efforts will then turn his attention to acquiring the services of an accomplished defender.
Successful Mourinho teams of the past have been notably hallmarked by veteran centre backs. At Porto, the Portuguese paired Ricardo Carvalho with Jorge Costa, who joined Porto in 1990. At Inter, he won a historic treble with the centre back pairing of Lucio and Walter Samuel. More recently, his Premier League success with Chelsea in 2015 can be largely attributed the indomitable duo of John Terry and Gary Cahill.
The prospect of Chris Smalling, who has gone from strength in the past year, pairing up with an experienced, well-renowned centre back is tantalising.
Manchester United fans will be curious over which names the 53-year-old has in mind. One candidate is Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci, a 29-year-old no-nonsense stalwart who, alongside Giorgio Chiellini, has formed the backbone of both Juventus and the Italian national team for the last five years. Mourinho is reportedly interested in the defender, but scalping another fundamental player from Juventus in the same window seems unlikely.