|Fred and Andreas Periera in action vs. Bayern Munich last night.|
With the final pre-season game drawing to a close, fans were hoping for a feeling of relief around Old Trafford, however, that is far from the case. The reason for the intense anxiety circulating revolves around our transfer activity, or certainly, a lack of it. Mourinho has been publicly vocal about the issue, voicing his frustration at the board for not securing his targets.
United haven’t been at their best during this pre-season. Last nights 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich cemented this case, with United having just 28% possession, Mourinho routing to his old 4-3-3 conservative formation. This has caused fury with some of the United fanbase; Jose isn’t changing his ways. In a modern era where football has developed with more pace, pressing and pressure, Mourinho seems to be stuck in the past, which has arguably influenced the list of players he wishes to acquire. Toby Alderweireld and Harry Maguire are the names that continue to be linked with a move, yet none seem close to being finalised. Understandably, the board may not wish to secure some of Jose’s targets; after investing money in previous centre-backs, they may want to see them perform rather than splash the cash on other players. However, spending money on an experienced defender could signify a change in Mourinho, in the hope of routing to a 3-5-2 formation, in which United have looked more confident in their style of play.
Before last nights match, Jose was asked specifically by a German reporter about Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng. He said ‘My CEO knows what I want for quite a long time, he knows what I want, I know that he tries to do the best for me and I still have a few days to wait what is going to happen’. Shortly after the game, German outlet, Bild, reported that United had started negotiations for the German international. Whether this is a report that just coincides with Mourinho’s targets remains to be seen. It is easy to draw links to this story, with United just playing his current side, along with it being well known within the media that they are out to secure an experienced central defender. What we do know is that Bayern have been rooting to sell Boateng all summer. His experience and style of play ticks the boxes for a Mourinho-esque signing, so this is a story that is certainly worth watching.
With the lack of signings secured, United have been both disorganised and surprising in this transfer window. The lack of a new left back has certainly worried United fans, many feeling this was a position that needed strengthening. Alex Sandro was the name on everyone’s lips; this deal now seems to be all but dead. With midfielder Fred the only real signing affecting the starting eleven, United fans are undoubtedly worrying ahead of the new season.
Another position spoken of is the right sided midfielder area, previously secured by the likes of Beckham, Ronaldo and Best. United have so far made no advancement after being linked with the likes of Gareth Bale and Willian. Again, both these names positively correlate with a ‘Mourinho-type’ signing, old and experienced. United seem to be reluctant to invest in the past, rather they’d invest in the future; This may be the reason why the Anthony Martial situation is still unresolved. With both Bale and Willian being ruled out of the race, Jose’s only hope relies on Ivan Perisic, a player who he has expressed a desire to purchase since last summer. If that transfer fails, the search for an experienced right sided midfielder is far too narrow. Furthermore, without the emergence of Andreas Periera, United would most likely be in need for yet another central midfielder.
The board act as a huge factor for attempting to steer a sinking ship in relation to transfer activity. The lack of a director of football at United results in the CEO, Ed Woodward, dealing with the incomings and outgoings of players. Woodward’s lack of experience in negotiating has played a part in every window since taking over David Gill’s role. United fans need no reminding of the late deadline day deals for Fellaini, Daley Blind and Falcao. This summer had the potential to be spectacular, getting rid of average individuals who don’t play week-in, week-out. So far, United have only been able to part ways with Daley Blind. The manager is certainly not solely at fault for this.
With Jose conceding that he is likely to only get one player, the position seems to be a central defender, however, with time against Jose, the board will be in the spotlight for the final four days of the transfer window. Mourinho also expressed that ‘If we don’t make our team better it will be a difficult season for us.’ Not only does this put pressure on the board, but it is again lowering expectations with both negativity and a lack of confidence with our current squad. Even though the board may be at fault during the market, Jose is ultimately the one that makes the team play; If United don’t perform on the pitch, the manager has to take responsibility.
With kick-off against Leicester City just four days away, United need to act quick to secure there transfer targets. Even though this can already take claim to be a bad transfer window, it has the potential to be disastrous if no acquisitions are made from now until Friday.