Regardless of whether they are truths, Jose Mourinho’s approach to football is defined by certain characteristics. He is renowned as a defensive tactician who plays exciting football but who becomes more cautious when his club is taking the pitch in a big match.
Interestingly, that is, somewhat, how Sir Alex Ferguson approached football at Manchester United.
Just how similarly Mourinho operates at United remains to be seen, but with the Red Devils looking to spend at least £150 million, it’s time to start speculating as to who the Special One will bring to Old Trafford with the goal of replicating Ferguson’s glory days.
Here are five players who could follow Mourinho to United:
A chance to reunite with the manager who he “was basically willing to die for?” Check.
A chance to take down his nemesis, Pep Guardiola? Check.
A chance to add the Premier League to his resume? Check.
Reports in France have suggested that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been offered a year-long contract by United with the option of another year, while a report from De Telegraaf has suggested that he will wear the Red Devils’ shirt next season. Mino Raiola, the Swede’s agent, dismissed the claim of a contract as “not factual,” but it would make a lot of sense if the striker moved to Old Trafford for the above reasons.
Ibrahimovic and Mourinho only spent one year together at Internazionale, but the former has made no secret of how the Special One won him over, saying in his autobiography: “Mourinho would become a guy I was basically willing to die for.”
Oh, and let’s not forget about the photo below, which Alexander Ostlund, who used to take the pitch with Ibrahimovic for Sweden’s national team, uploaded to Instagram with the caption reading: “Next destination?”
Following a season in which Bastian Schweinsteiger, who is 32 in August, was plagued by injury, United may look for an upgrade in its midfield.
That upgrade could come in the form of Andre Gomes, Valencia‘s versatile midfielder who is only 21 years old, and Mourinho has reportedly identified as a summer target for United as part of an anticipated spending spree.
Gomes, who was called up to Portugal‘s squad for Euro 2016, joined Valencia on a five-year deal from Benfica last year, and it would apparently cost United around £40 million to swipe him from Los Che.
In Mario, also called up to Portugal’s squad for Euro 2016, United would have another midfielder capable of dethroning Schweinsteiger or Michael Carrick. He just finished a Primeira Liga season in which he tallied six goals through 33 appearances, and is reportedly valued at at least £27 million, which is more than Bayern Munich spent on Renato Sanches in May.
For whatever reason, John Stones apparently continues to attract investors following a Premier League season in which he experienced a slump and played a large role in helping Everton surrender more goals than all but five clubs in the top flight of English football, three of whom were relegated.
Stones, part of England‘s squad for Euro 2016, is allegedly valued at more than £40 million, a figure that doesn’t correspond to his recent performances but that reportedly hasn’t killed off Mourinho’s interest in the centre-back.
Keep in mind that Mourinho apparently tried to sign Stones three times last year, when the Special One was still employed by Chelsea.
Alvaro Morata‘s future at Juventus is clouded by uncertainty largely because of Real Madrid, who holds an option to reacquire the Italian forward’s registration rights at predetermined values of up to €30 million (£41 million). It was reported that Los Blancos will buy the striker back from the Old Lady with the idea of selling him on to the highest bidder.
Enter United, who Morata would allegedly favour a move to over other clubs because of Mourinho’s appointment.
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