Former United States defender and ESPN pundit Janusz Michallik believes that Roma’s Radja Nainggolan will join Manchester United this summer.
The 29-year-old, when asked about his future, noted that he would make a decision over his future once he returned from holiday, refusing to completely rule out an Old Trafford move.
And Michallik, speaking on ESPN, believes that the midfielder, who claimed 15 goals last season, will end up working under Mourinho.
“That’s a hit for anybody,” he said. “I can understand why Jose Mourinho’s been after him for a long, long time now.”
“I don’t know if it’s going to happen, it’s a funny one. He’s very much like Vidal, you and I joke that if Jose Mourinho had a chance to get (Arturo) Vidal, Nainggolan and (N’Golo) Kante, that would be the midfield and he would make that midfield happen somehow.
“I think that should be a priority over anything there, I think he would help Paul Pogba tremendously as well.
“So for me this is a hit and it should happen and I somehow think it will happen.”
There is a clear pattern emerging out of the Portuguese’s transfer targets this summer, and indeed from a year ago: their ages. Ivan Perisic is 29 and Nainggolan, Nemanja Matic and Jordi Alba are all 28. Then you have the likes of Fabinho, Alvaro Morata, Victor Lindelof, Andrea Belotti and Nelson Semedo, who are all between the ages of 22 to 24. Paul Pogba and Eric Bailly fit into the latter bracket as well, whilst Henrikh Mkhitaryan is 28.
This isn’t a coincidence. Mourinho is slowly forming a core of players that are both young but good enough to feature at the highest level and, most importantly, reach their peak in a few years time.
And then there is a sprinkling of players like Nainggolan who can be considered hardened professionals – players capable of handling pressure and playing regularly.
An exciting plan. A plan looking ahead to next season but also to five years time. And supporters will be desperate to see their side secure the targets Mourinho wants to make it happen.