It’s hard not to get swept up in the excitement that comes at around this time every year. Everyone loves a good transfer rumour, and when our club pulls off a big deal for a new recruit, it has us dreaming about what the coming season could have in store for us.
And with the goings on around Old Trafford this summer, Manchester United fans can be forgiven for feeling especially giddy.
There’s the new manager for starters; José Mourinho’s arrival has brought renewed optimism, coming off the back of a season of drab displays under Louis van Gaal.
Then there was the signing off 22-year-old Ivory Coast defender Eric Bailly from Villarreal. Not too many people were familiar with the young centre-back, but he has the potential to be a star.
But things really began to kick off last week, when Zlatan Ibrahimovic announced that he would be joining United, and the veteran Swedish striker was soon followed by Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s arrival from Borussia Dortmund.
And if rumours are to be believed, we could be on the verge of a transfer that will make waves around the footballing world. Reports of a potentially world-record-breaking bid to bring Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba back to Old Trafford are beginning to circulate with growing intensity.
But, to pause amid the transfer window chaos for a moment, should we be asking ourselves if all of this change is necessary?
Many point to the fact that if Pogba is re-signed for £100 milion, United would be overpaying for a player they previously allowed to leave for free — honestly, I don’t buy in to that school of thought. The club is set for record-breaking levels of revenue, and if that money isn’t going to be passed on to the fans via cheaper merchandise and reduced ticket prices — which, let’s face it, is highly unlikely — then I’d much rather see it splashed out on reinforcing the squad.
For years Sir Alex Ferguson told us that there was "no value in the market." But the notion of value is relative to the means and needs of the buyer; if we win the Premier League, and get back to contesting in the latter stages of the Champions League over the next few years — not to mention the increased merchandising and sponsorship potential brought about by ‘marquee’ signings — then £100 million for Pogba will represent decent value.
One thing we have seen, however, is that overhauling a squad doesn’t always work. For years, teams like Tottenham Hotspur, Inter Milan and even Atlético Madrid before Diego Simeone was in charge, would be close to double figures for incomings and outgoings every season, and it brough little measurable progression.
Instead, such drastic changes served only to destabilise the squad; players are left wondering how long it will be before they are on the chopping block, unable to settle and, consequently, unable to perform.
Obviously, despite the FA Cup win, last season was not up to the standard expected of a Manchester United team, and the players have to shoulder their share of the blame for that.
But, under a different manager, freed from the shackles imposed by van Gaal, is it not worth seeing if what we’ve already got is actually better that we thought? And possibly better than what we think we are about to get?
If — and it still has to be considered a pretty big "if", regardless of recent reports -- we pull off a deal to sign Pogba, the 23-year-old Frenchman will be a considerable upgrade on any of our current midfielders, there’s no denying that. And the players we’ve already signed this summer are of a fantastic standard also.
But should we now be pumping the brakes a little on all of the transfer talk? Should we not allow the likes of Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and Adnan Januzaj the chance to show that they can return to the level of performances we know they are capable of?
In doing so, the handful of new signings will be afforded a more stable platform to bed into. If we have seven new recruits in the starting XI, it could be months before we see the desired level of cohesion and understanding. But three or four new guys surrounded by a familiar cast of players is a much simpler transition to make.
In this age of immediacy, time is a precious commodity, and patience is thin. Van Gaal talked of a "process" and lamented the level of expectation among United fans, but Mourinho is banging a different drum, promising to get the club back on track right away. By tempering the transfer talk, the new manager might give himself the best chance of doing so.