The Europa League final victory over Ajax at the Friends Arena in Stockholm assured Manchester United fans that there will be Champions League football at Old Trafford next season. Mourinho can look back on his inaugural season at the helm with a degree of satisfaction, after winning a credible double of League cup and Europa league. However, the performances in the league – especially at home – meant United finished in a disappointing sixth in the league, and will no doubt have to do better next season to keep the Old Trafford faithful happy.
Jose’s four summer signings last season all proved to be successful, yet it was the mercurial Swede, Zlatan Ibrahimović who grabbed the headlines with his 28 goals in all competitions. However, with Ibrahimović sustaining a horrific ACL knee injury in April his United career could well be over and Manchester United will surely look to bolster their squad as they prepare to compete on four fronts next season. There is no doubt that Mourinho will once again be given a war chest to bring in the players he wants. Here are three players United have been linked with who could add quality to Jose’s squad.
Will he? Won’t he? It’s the transfer that won’t go away, and it’s only the start of June. Griezmann has come to the forefront of European football in the last couple of years, being an integral part of the Atlético and French teams that got to the Champions League and the European Championship finals respectively. However, the tricky French forward has seemingly grown frustrated with life in Madrid playing second fiddle to Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real. Manchester United’s pursuit of Griezmann makes sense for both parties, he has been a fan of Manchester United since his idol David Beckham played for the club, and his arrival would give United the ideal replacement for Zlatan should he choose to leave. Finishing third in the Ballon D’Or voting last year, Griezmann fits the bill at Old Trafford and would certainly become a fan favourite should he choose to make the move. The iconic number seven shirt is vacant at United, and it seems only fitting another world class player come and don the famous shirt under the beaming floodlights of Old Trafford.
One major Stumbling block in United’s pursuit of Griezmann could be Atlético’s transfer ban. The court of arbitration has upheld the ban, meaning they won’t be able to sign anyone this summer, and subsequently they will be more reluctant to let the Frenchman go. If United came in with a mammoth offer then the potential for movement will always be there, however it could all just lead to a dead end, something most United fans such as myself definitely don’t want to see.
The young Burnley centre back has undoubtedly made a name for himself away from Manchester, blossoming into a calm and reliable presence at the back. United could see themselves in a similar situation to the re-signing of Paul Pogba, having to pay a huge sum for someone they let go on the cheap. With the constant injuries and mistake ridden performances from the comedy duo of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, United certainly have room for a new centre back alongside Eric Bailly who has had a very impressive debut season. Keane is still only 24 years of age and under Mourinho’s tutelage, he could become a United and England mainstay for years to come.
Manchester United’s tradition dictates there is always a place for pacey, tricky wingers, something that we haven’t seen consistently since the days of Ronaldo and Giggs. Many players have offered flashes of Brilliance; Nani, Depay, even striker turned left winger Antony Martial, but none with the consistency demanded by the United faithful. Step forward Ivan Perisic, the Internazionale winger has had an exceptional season, being involved in 23 goals for his club, following on from an impressive Euro 2016 campaign. However, with United having signed Mkhitaryan last season, and having Anthony Martial in reserve, his signing would certainly put a question mark over the young French star’s future at Old Trafford. The £48 million price tag Inter have put on him could also be a huge stumbling block. Would United test Inters resolve if Mourinho believes he is missing piece in their title challenging jigsaw? I believe they would. Whatever happens, we are in for an exciting summer at Old Trafford.
Featured image curtesy of Craig Ballantyne via Flickr.