Next season’s Premier League title race is set to be dominated by Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, as the two highly-lauded bosses attempt to resurrect the flagging Manchester clubs.
Manchester United will spend a fortune under Mourinho, while City boss Guardiola will wave cash around like it’s on fire and he needs to put it quickly.
It’s inevitable that the two most highly-rated bosses in world football will be competing for the title, because quite simply that is what they do.
A world-class signing
The pair will try to outdo each other in the transfer market this summer. What would be a game-changer is if one of the pair could capture a world-class talent.
Well according to every British tabloid and some foreign publications, United are on the verge of making a £78million bid for Juventus and France central midfielder Paul Pogba. It would be a big move for the Red Devils to re-sign Pogba, as they allowed him to leave on a free transfer just four years ago.
Sir Alex Ferguson did not like his authority questioned and that lead to Pogba seeking pastures new. To be fair the midfielder’s decision cannot really be criticised, as he has won four Serie A titles and also appeared in a Champions League final.
The 23-year-old has also become one of the most highly-rated midfielders in the world game in his time in Turin. He seems to have every attribute needed to be a great midfield player. His performances for the Bianconeri have reported attracted scouts from all of Europe’s big clubs, and United as well.
United have lacked world-class for a long time
Manchester United’s squad has lacked world-class players for a long time. The aforementioned Sir Alex Ferguson managed to win trophies through sheer man-management and a scattering of top players.
It is difficult to say that any of United’s players are currently world-class. The likes of Germany’s Bastian Schweinsteiger and Wayne Rooney would arguably in their prime have been in that category, but neither are close to that at the moment.
Teams do not need every player in a team to be a world star, as different players bring different things to a team. However, most successful teams have stand out players.
United have failed to challenge for the Premier League title in recent years because their players have not been of good enough standard. They have lacked true quality all over the field.
United finally shopping in the top market
Yesterday I talked about Manchester City not acting like an elite European club, but United have fallen into the same trap in recent years. For a long time they were considered one of Europe’s biggest clubs.
There were big expectations from everybody connected with the club and those expectations were not lived up to because of poor player recruitment.
United were shopping in Asda, when fans wanted them to be shopping in Harrods. There are bargain to be had in Asda, but by in large the quality of merchandise is perceived as far better in a more expensive shop. You get what you pay for in life as they say.
United look like they could be shopping in the top market once again this summer. Their first major purchase of the summer was the appointment of the highly-rated Mourinho. The Portuguese boss has already spent £30million on Villarreal defender Eric Bailly, subject to the obligatory work permit.
The signing of Paul Pogba and to some extent Zlatan Ibrahimovic would suggest that Manchester United are once again ready and able to compete with the biggest and best on and off the field.
Former-United boss Louis van Gaal brought in a lot of players, with mixed results. The likes of Daley Blind and Anthony Martial were his more successful buys, with the latter having a chance of one day becoming world-class.
However, there was always a feeling that United were not quite competing at the top end of the transfer market. If United get Mourinho, Pogba and Ibrahimovic in the same summer then it shows that the United hierarchy are no longer happy with mediocre.
The summer arrival of Mourinho obviously improved United’s odds of winning the title and the Red Devils are currently odds of 4/1 to be crowned champions next season. Mourinho has a lot of work to do on his squad, but at least this summer the United hierarchy look like they are showing real ambition.
Will Manchester United re-sign Paul Pogba this summer?