On Friday 27th May, the curtain was finally drawn on an era of stale, nostalgic and underwhelming football. For Friday, 27th May, was the day Jose Mourinho was announced in the media as manager of Manchester United. I take a look at how this appointment and various other goings-on at United give us all plenty of reason to be excited for the new season.
Jose Mourinho will bring back the fear factor
It’s no secret that under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, the football frustrated, bored and divided the fans. That last point is an important one. A once ‘united’ fan base had become inwardly hostile. Fighting among United fans on social media became commonplace. All, as a result of what was happening (or not) on the pitch and in the dugout.
Hopefully that time has come and passed with the appointment of “The Special One”. I strongly believe that having arguably the best manager in world football at the biggest football club in the world is a match made in heaven. Jose was made for this job.
In the few weeks that he has been in charge we have already seen lots of changes made; particularly with recruitment. And since his arrival, social media platforms such as Twitter seem a lot more civilised!
Jose has plenty of experience managing at top and has a fantastic CV boasting an impressive trophy collection. He is a no nonsense manager and will no doubt have United back to winning ways in no time. He will make the Theatre of Dreams a fortress once again.
New signings provide a morale boost for fans
Speaking of recruitment. Jose wasted no time in bringing in new faces. His first acquisition was centre back Eric Bailly, signed from Villareal. With Daley Blind – a midfielder by nature – filling a void in the centre of United’s defence during Van Gaal’s tenure, it’s no surprise that this position was the first to be filled.
That’s not to take anything away from Daley Blind. He did a fantastic job but United are light in that department and it was crucial that a natural centre back was recruited.
Eric Bailly’s biggest traits are his strength and great recovery pace. His rapidly growing talent was also noticed by the likes of Manchester City, Barcelona and PSG who were all interested in securing his services.
Following Eric Bailly into Old Trafford was the one and only Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Quite possibly footballs biggest, worst kept transfer secret in recent history! Rumours had been circling for weeks maybe even months regarding his arrival and were further fueled by the silence of all parties involved. Zlatan’s huge grin and lack of denial when asked about a move to United was surely the confirmation we all were looking for!
Not much else needs to be said about Zlatan other than we simply cannot wait to see him pull on a United shirt and wreak havoc in our oppositions defences!
The most recent signing is attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan. He impressed for Dortmund in the Bundesliga last season scoring 11 goals and creating 82 chances which included 15 assists. Most of his goals and assists last season came from playing as a right winger and this is a position United so desperately needed to fill.
Louis van Gaal spent in excess of £250m on players during his time as Manchester United manager yet an overwhelming majority of his signings failed to live up to their own AND the fans’ standards.
Arguably, the biggest flop of them all is Memphis Depay. He talked the talk but could not walk the walk. We saw flashes of brilliance from him but when you play for Manchester United, consistency is expected.
Matteo Darmian is another Van Gaal purchase who couldn’t quite reach the level many expected. The Italian right back had a fantastic pre-season with United in the states and it looked as though Rafael Da Silva would quickly be forgotten. However, Darmian’s form declined quickly and he never really got going.
Surprise signing Bastian Schweinsteiger was for me, going to be our best signing of last summer. I watched him play for Germany in the 2014 World Cup and I remember thinking, “This guy is a warrior. I would love him at United”. When he signed I was thrilled. I couldn’t wait to see him play. He had the odd good game but didn’t look like he was up to the job physically. Injuries did not help his cause.
Finally, one of the Premier League’s best central midfielders in the previous two seasons; Morgan Schneiderlin. For me, Morgan was hit and miss for the majority of the season. He was good defensively for the most part, making some important tackles and interceptions, but his ball distribution left a lot to be desired.
Now, I don’t want any of the above mentioned players to leave United this summer. All of them are talented footballers.
Take Memphis, Darmian and Schweinsteiger. Each of these players have attacking responsibilities in each of their positions. Memphis an attacking winger; Darmian a right back who likes to get forward with pace and Schweinsteiger, a box-to-box midfielder who is not afraid to get in amongst the goals.
Each of these players were playing in a very rigid system under Louis van Gaal and were somewhat restricted in their play. Under a new manger in Jose Mourinho, the shackles will be off, players will be allowed to express themselves and hopefully, we’ll see the players they were when at their previous clubs. For this reason we should be excited by these players again.
Youth players WILL feature under Mourinho
One big argument the Jose Mourinho naysayers were using as a reason NOT to employ him, was that he does not give youth a chance. This is 100% myth. Totally untrue. You only have to do a quick Google search to discover a plethora of top class footballers who were given their chance as youngsters by Mourinho.
During his first press conference, the new United boss defended his youth policy and rightly so. He also hinted at Rashford and Ibrahimovic playing together and he also made it clear that he understands the club and it’s history and knows exactly what the club AND fans expect of him. This will include giving youth a chance.
A few names have already been dropped as potential breakthrough players this coming season such as, Axel Tuanzebe and Tyrell Warren.
So I am confident that we will see this proud Manchester United tradition continue.
Is a title charge out of the question?
With the arrival of Ibrahimovic, Bailly, Mkhitaryan and possibly Pogba, United look to have plugged a lot of the gaps that plagued the team in recent seasons. So with that in mind coupled with having a winner in Jose Mourinho as our manager, dare we dream of a title charge in his first season? Stranger things have happened. Look at Leicester City.