Ed Woodward treated his new manager, Jose Mourinho to four stellar names, and primary targets I must add, last season. The end result saw all four contribute to Manchester United winning the EFL Cup and Europa League, with the clouds of the Van Gaal era showing signs of dissipating.
That was exactly the platform the Mourinho era, and United as a whole needed to catapult themselves back to where they belong. Another summer of shrewd, efficient, ruthless business would also have been just the tonic to build on that good start.
Fans are growing restless at the fact, to date, Victor Lindelof has been the solitary addition to a squad that still requires fresh blood to go to that next level. Widespread rumour has it that frustration is starting to bubble over to the man tasked with adding to those two pieces of silverware.
The second season of a Mourinho led team has historically had its moments of implosion, the second spell in charge of Chelsea an apt case in point. The chaos was preceded by a summer of discontent and ultimately a failure to attain his number one targets. John Stones and Paul Pogba were in Mourinho’s sights at Stamford Bridge but were not captured, a lucky break for United as far as the latter is concerned. What ensued was the same batch of players becoming stale and devoid of any semblance of replicating what they had achieved the previous season. Mourinho was the one who paid the price though and United can ill afford history repeating itself.
Not on their return to the Champions League. Comparing squad lists to Europe’s elite United, on paper at least, do not draw up favourably. United cannot boast a game changing player of the ilk of the Ronaldos, Messi’s, Neymar’s or Lewandowski’s, let alone a squad capable of going all the way. We need bodies, simple as. Granted, stellar signings are seldom completed in the early stages of July, even your run of the mill player these days cannot be acquired in a hurry, but United have not left themselves with ample amounts of time to create a statement domestically and continentally.
Moves for Alvaro Morata, Ivan Perisic and Nemanja Matic have thus far failed to materialise and threaten to leave United trailing in the wake of their rivals. Rivals are starting to crank up the pressure in terms of acquisitions. Hell, even Arsenal have blown their transfer record out of the water, with the signing of Alexandre Lacazette. Arsenal! “Fourth place is a trophy” Arsenal! The competition is only going to get fiercer and United’s business has been left in the hands of a certain Mr Woodward.
Was the decisiveness of 2016 a mere act?
Mourinho left Woodward with a list of primary targets, with only one name secured off that sheet of paper. The daily wait for transfer developments is causing anguish and despair for many a United supporter and when that surfaces to the manager well, need more be said?
The dithering Mr Woodward, with an aversion to clinching necessary deals, is revealing his true self that United fans grew to loathe.
Something has to give. Let’s see what happens with these Lukaku rumours.