The Jose Mourinho to Manchester United saga seems to have come close to conclusion, after reports from the trustworthy Sky Sports have revealed that the Special One will be officially announced as the next Red Devils’ Boss within the upcoming 24-48 hours. The Portuguese tactician will succeed Louis van Gaal, who was officially sacked last night despite a last-ditch effort to save his job by winning the FA Cup.
Louis van Gaal did not enjoy much success in his tenure at Manchester United, but he has certainly laid the foundations for success at the Theatre of Dreams by solidifying the defence as well as introducing many promising and young academy graduates into the first team. It is now up to Mourinho to take full advantage of the foundations laid by Van Gaal and take Manchester United back to the topmost level of European football.
To make United successful again, Mourinho seems to have already identified 5 major transfer targets that he will use, alongside the youngsters promoted by Van Gaal, to make a solid comeback at the top. These potential targets are as follows.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been linked with a move to Manchester United for quite a while now. The Swedish star’s contract with PSG expires this summer, making him one of the hottest free agents in this upcoming summer transfer window. And as per reports, Ibrahimovic is set to join Manchester United now that the Dutchman Louis van Gaal has been sacked, and reunite with his former manager Jose Mourinho at the Theatre of Dreams.
According to BBC, Ibrahimovic could be Mourinho’s first Manchester United signing after taking over at the club. The reports states that the 34-year-old striker is ready to reject offers from other clubs and join the Special One. Ibrahimovic has been known to speak highly of Mourinho and their time together at Inter Milan, and has also been heard to give Mourinho credits for making him a better and more confident player – a feat quite surprising, given Zlatan’s usual ‘cocky’ personality. And despite Zlatan’s age, he is still regarded as one of the best players on the planet, and a reunion with one of the best coaches in the world, at one of the biggest clubs in the world, is bound to cause gigantic repercussions.
Another ex-player Mourinho has identified as a potential transfer target is Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane. Mourinho signed Varane from French outfit Lens to Real Madrid in 2011, back when he still managed the La Liga giants. Varane thrived under the Portuguese, but is currently stuck on the bench and being left out of crucial games, after falling out of current manager Zinedine Zidane’s favour, who prefers the center-back pairing of Pepe and Sergio Ramos instead.
Varane is hence set to leave the Spanish club, and could be on his way to United. Mourinho is believed to be a big fan of the French defender, and is set to offer him a way out by bringing him to Manchester. The 23-year-old, who is being valued around £30m, would settle comfortably in the Red Devils’ defence if he does decide to reunite with Jose.
Gonzalo Higuain is another transfer target that previously played under Mourinho at Real Madrid. However, since leaving Madrid, Higuain has improved immensely, having scored 36 league goals in 35 games this season and playing a huge part in helping Napoli finish as runners up in the Serie A, second to champions Juventus.
Higuain is also being monitored by the likes of Chelsea and Paris Saint Germain, but Manchester United have now joined the race for his services due to Mourinho’s request. Mourinho reportedly believes the Argentinian striker to be the answer to Manchester United’s problems in front of goal, as the Red Devils have repeatedly failed to score in numerous games under Louis van Gaal. The United officials will, however, have a tough job convincing the 28-year-old to give up Champions League football at Napoli and represent United in the Europa League.
According to various sources, Jose Mourinho is interested in bringing Nemanja Matic along with him to Manchester United. Mourinho re-signed the Serbian international at Chelsea back in January 2014, for a fee of £21 million. The Special One now looks to bring the 27-year-old to Manchester United, as a potential replacement for Michael Carrick, who will soon be out of contract, or even Bastian Schweinsteiger, who has struggled with injuries throughout the season.
Chelsea seem to have slammed a price tag of over £25 million for Matic, as they are reluctant to sell their midfield enforcer to a rival club. However, with the disappointing season that he has had, Chelsea may not need too much convincing to part ways with the Serbian.
Mourinho has been in hot pursuit of John Stones for quite some time. In fact, the Portuguese even tried to sign the youngster at Chelsea last summer by making four bids worth of £20m, £26m, £30m and, finally, £37m for the defender, but was unsuccessful each time. The soon-to-be charismatic United boss, however, has not given up on, and will look to sign John Stones at Manchester United, according to reports.
However, Mourinho isn’t the only one interested in the 21-year-old, as United’s arch-rivals Manchester City as well as La Liga giants FC Barcelona have been monitoring Stones for a while. Everton have slammed a £40m price tag on their promising youngster, which United can easily meet given their financial resources. However, they may have a hard time convincing Stones to come to Old Trafford instead of moving to the two aforementioned clubs, given the absence of Champions League football at the Theatre of Dreams next season.