The self-anointed ‘Special One’ has taken over the reins at Manchester United and got down to business, immediately restructuring the squad to suit his managerial style. He has already added a host of new players to the squad and the calibre of players he has signed indicate that they will likely feature in the starting eleven. Mourinho will be wary of changing the core too much and will look to amalgamate his new signings into the team and hope it will be a smooth transition.
While Manchester United with their superstars and star manager will be expected to walk away with the title, the ground reality is a whole lot different. All the teams have strengthened considerably and the difference in quality within the teams has decreased drastically over the years.
We look at three players who have to step up for the Old Trafford outfit for them to have a realistic chance of challenging for the title.
Mourinho sprung a surprise when it was revealed Zlatan had joined Manchester United on a free transfer from PSG. It was widely expected that his next likely destination would be the Far East or the MLS but in his inimitable style Ibra defied expectations and decided to have a go at the one major league title he hadn’t put his hands on. With 38 goals in 31 matches for the French outfit, it is evident he can be the X-factor in this United squad who have struggled in front of goal.
The midfielder joined from Borussia Dortmund after an impressive season in the Bundesliga where he scored 11 goals and assisted a further 15. Though he will be vying for a spot in the No.10 role with Wayne Rooney, it is expected Mourinho will be able to whip up a solution to accommodate his two star players.
Mkhitaryan is expected to provide the spark in the final third and if his displays against Wigan Athletic in the pre-season friendly are anything to go by, he is well and truly up for the challenge. His trickery and link up with the other attackers in the squad will be a joy to watch and with a good pre-season under his belt, it won’t be a surprise if he is the stand-out player this season.
One of the very few positives in an extremely disappointing season under Van Gaal, Smalling has come a long way and established himself as a defensive mainstay in the United backline. He was an important reason the Red Devils finished at a somewhat respectable 5th spot. Mourinho will love to have Smalling continue from where he left off and the England defender will surely be an integral part of any game-plan Jose employs.