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Saturday, 8 July 2017

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho presences list of players he need

It had been a quiet summer for Manchester United, with Victor Lindelof the only arrival to a squad manager Jose Mourinho believes is in need of serious
Stories of unrest at a lack of activity were quick to emerge as the clock ticked to Sunday’s departure for the US.  Then, as revealed by Sportsmail, Romelu Lukaku lands with a £75m bang. 
Here, Mike Keegan looks at the Old Trafford window so far, what we can expect and whether Mourinho (and United fans) need to panic.
It had been a quiet summer for Jose Mourinho's Manchester United - until Romelu Lukaku

United's search for a new No 9 looks over, with Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata now off the agenda 

Who do United want?

Back in March, Jose Mourinho presented Ed Woodward with a list of 12 players – three for each of the four positions he had identified as areas which needed strengthening. Those areas were full-back, centre-back, central midfield, and winger. 
Sources close to the situation say that the list was then extended to a centre forward following the April injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was expecting to sign a 12-month contract extension before injury struck. Many of the targets are known. 
Following the signing of Lindelof and the imminent arrival Lukaku, striker and centre-half can be erased from the Carrington white boards, along with that of no-longer-a-target Alvaro Morata. 
Ivan Perisic out wide is ongoing and in midfield, Tottenham’s Eric Dier, Roma’s, Radja Nainggolan or Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic were favoured, along with Borussia Dortmund midfielder Julian Weigl. Antoine Griezmann and Cristiano Ronaldo were also listed. The Executive Vice Chairman still has work to
Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic remains a favoured target, having previously worked with Mourinho

How much cash have they got?

In a word, lots. United remain on course for a record-breaking financial year in which revenues are expected to hit £560-570m. 
The purse strings are loosened and a £200m outlay, double what they’ve spent so far, would not be out of the club’s reach. 
However, there is not a bottomless pit of cash buried beneath the Stretford End. While the desire to provide the manager with everything he needs is clearly there, it will not have gone unnoticed that £160m came out of the coffers trying to do just that last summer. 
How have they got on so far?
United depart for their US tour on July 9 and Lukaku is set to kick back in business class along with Lindelof and the rest of the squad. 
Word is that the deal for the Sweden central defender was actually agreed back in January, when United came close to taking him in that window instead of this one. 
Lukaku has also been simmering for a while. Before agreeing a fee for the big Belgian, to say the manager was underwhelmed would be an understatement akin to pointing out that there was a certain unease among the keyboard warriors on social media. That has changed but Mourinho will be anxious for more new arrivals. 


July 16: LA Galaxy (StubHub Center, California) 3am
July 18: Real Salt Lake (Rio Tinto Stadium, Utah) 3am
July 21: Manchester City (NRG Stadium, Houston - International Champions' Cup) 2.30am)
July 23: Real Madrid (Levi's Stadium, California - International Champions' Cup) 10pm
July 27: Barcelona (FedExField, Maryland - International Champions' Cup) 12.30am
July 30: Valerenga (Ullevaal Stadium, Oslo) 6pm
August 2: Sampdoria (Aviva Stadium, Dublin) 7.45pm
August 8: Real Madrid (Philip II Arena, Skopje - UEFA Super Cup) TBC

United chief exec Ed Woodward (left) had frustrated Mourinho, but now looks to have Lukaku
How does this compare with previous years?
Three years ago Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw (although he may have wished he didn’t given the greeting he got from Louis van Gaal) were onboard the flight to the US. However, there was still time to bring in Radamel Falcao, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Angel Di Maria before the serious business of the Premier League season kicked off. 
Memphis Depay was 2015’s Victor Lindelof and, in a whirlwind 48 hours before they again departed for the States, Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin all put pen to paper before Anthony Martial became the customary late arrival. 
Last year, Eric Bailly played the role of the early acquisition, followed by Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the first week of July. Word record signing Paul Pogba was the last man when he returned in August. There appears to be a method and there may well be additions before or during the trip.

So far only defender Victor Lindelof has been confirmed in a deal reportedly agreed in January

What is the manager’s take on this? 

‘Ed Woodward has my list, what I want, what I would like for more than two months.’ Mourinho’s words. In May. No pressure, then. 
Word was that the manager was not amused by the lack of incomings pre-Lukaku. When Lindelof signed, there was even a not-so-thinly veiled mention of a need to press on in Mourinho’s comments. 
Apparently Woodward’s trip to New Zealand to watch the Lions did not go down well, regardless of the fact that this is 2017 and you can conduct transfer business from pretty much anywhere – as he has shown. 

Mourinho wants plenty of reinforcements for a team which finished sixth last league season
Why is having the new boys on the plane for the US so important?
With relatively little international football on the calendar, Mourinho saw this summer as an opportunity to get his new boys in early. The manager places incredible importance on training sessions, tactics and team morale. Having the fresh faces in the group from day one would be key to success. 
The manager believes time spent away is invaluable for building relationships and he will be disappointed if Lindelof and Lukaku are the only new members of the travelling party. 

Should there be cause for concern?

History (laid about above) tells us that it is. That’s not to say that with every day that passes without further new faces frustrations will grow and pressure will again begin to squeeze. That said Lukaku’s pending arrival is a huge release. 
Woodward and his lieutenants are working around the clock to make things happen. Buying players without getting ripped off in this crazy climate takes time. 

What’s likely to happen?

Mourinho may not end up with his first choices but it is hard to see Lukaku as the end of United’s business. Expect at least three further additions to the squad. They may not arrive in time for the US, and may not even be in a red shirt on the opening day of the season, but by the end of the transfer window Mourinho should be a happy man – not that he’ll say so.

 Zlatan Ibrahimovic's knee injury sparked an unexpected search for a new striker for Mourinho.

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