When Sir Alex Ferguson retired from football management at the end of the 2012/13 season, a legendary era at Manchester United ended. After being managed by Sir Alex for over a quarter of a century, there were many questions raised about whether this was the end of the Red Devils’ period of domination in English football.
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal failed to replicate the management success that Ferguson achieved and, in the summer of 2016, United hired Jose Mourinho to steady the ship and return them to the top of the Premier League.
Now in his third season in charge of the Red Devils, Mourinho has so far failed to win the Premier League with the club and, given their poor start to the season, it once again looks like the club will come up short. The odds suggest that United may even miss out on a place in the top four, being priced at 16/5 to finish in the top four.
They’ve also failed to convince in the Champions League, but remain in a strong position to qualify for the next round. Even if they do qualify, their chances of lifting the trophy appear slim.
With the January transfer window just around the corner, we have taken a look at the additions Mourinho could make in order to propel the club back up the Premier League table.
Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin was a target for Manchester United in the summer, but ultimately decided to remain in Spain. The Uruguayan centre back’s contract with Los Rojiblancos expires this summer and has a £20 million buyout clause, something which may tempt a few teams.
Although 32 years old, Godin would provide leadership and quality at the back – something Mourinho was desperate to sort out over the summer. Godin may see this as the perfect opportunity to play in a new league and potentially win further silverware, after helping Madrid to the 2013/14 La Liga title.
Last season saw Napoli come close to winning their first Serie A title since 1990, and centre back Kalidou Koulibaly played an integral role in Napoli’s title challenge. The 27-year old would undoubtedly add some steel to the United defence, which so far has the joint-fifth worst defence along with Southampton.
There are reports that United have offered Napoli £80 million to sign the Senegalese defender, although this transfer move could hinge on the future of United centre back Eric Bailly, who has been linked with a move to fellow Premier League club Arsenal.
Koulibaly has been at Napoli since 2014 and it may be the case that he sees English football as a good opportunity to progress and win more silverware.
One of the most surprising transfer rumours is that of West Ham United striker Marko Arnautovic, who joined the Hammers in the summer of 2017 for a then club record £20 million. The Austrian striker has previously worked with Mourinho at Inter Milan, although the pair famously had some issues. Since then though, Arnautovic has matured and become a more level-headed player. He previously played for Werder Bremen and Stoke City before joining West Ham.
Arnautovic became a key member of Stoke City’s squad and has since done the same at West Ham. He is their main goal threat and when the manager knows how to use him, the team reaps the rewards. Slavan Bilic struggled to get the best out of the Austrian, but after David Moyes took over at the London Stadium, Arnautovic found his form.
There are rumours that it would cost £50 million to tempt West Ham to sell their main man, but if Mourinho is desperate to change his team’s fortunes, a player like Arnautovic might just be the solution.