When it comes to securing a holding midfielder, the £40million Serb is clearly the Special One’s Plan B
JOSE MOURINHO has sealed a reunion with Nemanja Matic.
The Manchester United manager has failed to land the players who feature in his very own dream team and when it comes to securing a holding midfielder, Matic is Plan B.
Yet Mourinho should still be satisfied with a second summer of heavy spending although this is unlikely to be the case.
Instead, he will moan that he is still one player short even though United’s current squad is perfectly capable of winning the Premier League.
As he indicated by lobbing a grenade in the direction of chief executive Ed Woodward following an apparent lack of transfer activity, the Old Trafford manager still wants a winger.
Whether Mourinho can land Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic remains to be seen but United are likely to invest heavily in a wide player.
Matic’s arrival from Mourinho’s former club Chelsea will cost about £40million plus add-ons. It is a ridiculous amount of money for a player who cannot find a way into a rival side’s starting line-up but in today’s market, it is actually decent business.
As he proved under Mourinho when the pair helped Chelsea to the title two years ago, Matic will add some steel and quality to United’s midfield although the impending arrival is clearly bad news for Marouane Fellaini.
Ordinarily, Chelsea would have been unwilling to sell to another Premier League side but the move has been rubber-stamped by Roman Abramovich who also allowed Petr Cech to join Arsenal as a thank you for his service at Stamford Bridge.
Whether this decision bites Chelsea on the backside remains to be seen but Matic will make United stronger.
Although unconvincing at times last season, Paul Pogba should finally become one of the division’s best performers and could be worth a few quid to pick up the player-of-the-season accolades he was expected to win last term.
With Ander Herrera also featuring in Mourinho’s first-choice United midfield, Matic will be the perfect foil.
In an ideal world, Mourinho would be unveiling Eric Dier instead of Matic. Despite three attempts this summer – and with Dier extremely keen on a move – Spurs chairman Daniel Levy stuck to his word and refused to sell one of Mauricio Pochettino’s key men.
Mourinho would also love to sign Gareth Bale but this is a non-starter. The United boss would also have preferred Harry Kane to Lukaku but after failing to land the England striker a year ago, United did not waste their time to try and sign Kane this summer.
The situation will change, though, if Spurs once again win nothing this season.
Despite Levy’s firm stance of not selling – apart from Kyle Walker to Manchester City – it seems bizarre that neither United or Manchester City have tried to sign Toby Alderweireld as he is clearly the best defender in English football.
Instead, United have brought in Victor Lindelof with the Swedish international likely to take time to settle after leaving Portuguese football and potentially, central defence could still be a weak area for United.
Nevertheless, ignore Mourinho’s unconvincing attempts at downplaying their title hopes.
Offensively, they are also strong and this is a key season for Marcus Rashford, who remains on a mission is to nail the number nine spot for both United and England. For the time being, he will have to settle for playing wide in a 4-3-3 system.
Despite United’s latest batch of signings, arguably the biggest triumph is their ability to keep hold of keeper David de Gea.
It is for this reason, along with Mourinho’s additions, which should see United finish in the top two.
Anything else and – barring an outstanding showing in the Champions League – Mourinho’s season will been seen as a failure.
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