With nearly a month to go to the start of what is one of the most anticipated Premier League seasons in history, Mourinho is making moves to build up a team that can challenge at the highest level.
In his first press conference Mourinho promised that Manchester United would make 4 signings crucial to the core of the team, and then bonus signings if players leave Old Trafford.
Mourinho and Woodward have moved quickly already this transfer window; signing Bailly from Villarreal, Mkhitaryan from Dortmund and Ibrahimovic on a free. The fourth signings, which Mourinho indicated that the Red Devils are working very hard on, is likely to be a central midfielder in the form of Pogba or Matuidi.
Given United’s transfer activity, and the style of play Mourinho tends to bring to teams he’s managing, Sportpulse will now predict the team Manchester United will line up with at the start of next season.
GOALKEEPER: DAVID DE GEA
David De Gea, nearly a year after signing personal terms with Real Madrid before technical issues collapsed the transfer, seems to be happy with life at Manchester United. The Spanish goalkeeper has seen his global stock rise after cementing the spot as number 1 choice for his national team, and is widely accepted as one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Mourinho will look to keep him at Manchester United in the long term, and will be crucial to United’s title hopes.
LEFT BACK: LUKE SHAW
Luke Shaw was looking terrific for Manchester United in the early part of last season, before sustaining a double leg fracture against PSV and not returning back for the rest of the season. After many months out, Shaw will look to regain his best level, and only aged 20 has plenty of time to fulfil his potential and become one of the best left backs in the world.
CENTRE BACK: CHRIS SMALLING
Chris Smalling has been Manchester United’s best defender for the past two seasons, and has cemented his place as England’s first choice centre back. Strong in the air and quick to tackle, Smalling will be a key part of Manchester United’s backbone and responsible for organising Manchester United’s defence.
CENTRE BACK: ERIC BAILLY
Eric Bailly was signed by Mourinho from Villarreal to partner Smalling at the back for Manchester United. At 22 years of age, Bailly’s inexperience may be a weakness for the Red Devils, but his time in Spain has shown that he has a lot of pace and the physical talent to prosper in the Premier League.
RIGHT BACK: MATTEO DARMIAN
Matteo Darmian started off last season well for Manchester United, but saw his form decline as the season went on. Darmian is likely to initially be given a chance to start by Mourinho, but will have to up his game or may lose his place to United youngster Fosu-Mensah.
CENTRAL DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD: PAUL POGBA/ BLAISE MATUIDI
Mourinho’s 4th signing at Manchester United is likely to be a central midfielder who can dominate the middle of the park for the Red Devils. Reports have indicated that Manchester United are willing to break the transfer record with a £80 million+ bid for Paul Pogba. Pogba’s preferred destination is Real Madrid however, so if that transfer fails to materialise, United will chase PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi. Pogba, a former Manchester United youth player, is aged 23 and has bags of talent, but Matuidi is better known for his defensive ability and would provide more stability and protection for the defence at Manchester United.
CENTRAL DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD: MORGAN SCHNEIDERLIN
With Carrick and Schweinsteiger both ageing and at the wrong side of 30, Mourinho is likely to trust Morgan Schneiderlin to anchor the Manchester United midfield. Under Mourinho the French midfielder can expect to work very hard in protecting the defence, and will need to be fit enough to run many kilometres in each match.
RIGHT WING: HENRIKH MKHITARYAN
Mkhitaryan is one of Manchester United’s key signings so far this transfer window, and will provide a crucial boost to Manchester United’s right wing. Mkhitaryan was one of Dortmund’s key players last season, scoring 11 goals and providing 15 assists.
CENTRAL ATTACKING MIDFIELD: WAYNE ROONEY/ANDER HERRERA
Mourhino has made very clear that unlike Van Gaal and Hodgson, he does not see Rooney as a deep lying midfielder. Instead Mourhino has indicated that Rooney will be play at ‘number nine or number 10… maybe at nine and a half’. This indicates that Rooney will either play just behind the striker in central attacking midfield, or play as the striker. If Rooney does play upfront, or loses his place in the team, Ander Herrera could step in and take the role of central attacking midfield.
LEFT WING: ANTHONY MARTIAL
Martial was under great pressure last season with a huge price-tag to live up to after signing from Monaco, but the young Frenchman has silenced his early doubters with some of his dazzling dribbling and ruthless finishing. Comparisons to Thierry Henry are premature, but there is no doubt that the 20 year old is one of the most talented youngsters in the world.
STRIKER: ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC
‘Age is just a number.’ Zlatan started off his Old Trafford career in his typical confident manner, declaring that his age of 34 won’t stop him from being a success in the Premier League. He has established good relations with Mourinho after his stint with him at Inter Milan, and is likely to be to be the first choice striker. While Zlatan and his incredible skills need no introduction, his old age may mean Mourinho rests him from time to time, which could give a chance to youngster Marcus Rashford to get game time. Rashford was very impressive at the end of last season, and could be the future of Manchester United’s attack.