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José Mourinho needs one more transfer window

The manager reckons he needs one more summer window to finish rebuilding Manchester United in his image.

Safe pair of hands.
Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

José Mourinho has given an interview in The Times, and we recommend reading the whole thing. It’s behind a paywall, but proper journalism cost money; that’s why The Busby Babe is free and The Times is not. In it, Mourinho says that while his Manchester United team has made significant progress from last year, he still needs another summer transfer window to compete at the very top.

“I have said three [summer] transfer windows is what I need to have the team I want to have -- the team [that] I think can bring Manchester United to the top of English football and to close the gap to the top of European football again -- and I still think we need that third transfer window, but I'm not going to wait for the third transfer window to try to reach it.”

Even without securing the fourth signing that he wanted, Mourinho is happy with the business that United have done this summer.

“I think we were very clever,” Mourinho says. “We thought that something could happen that could change the market forever. Normally the last part of the market is less expensive, but this season, after Neymar [left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record £199 million deal], everything changed — and changed for the worse in terms of prices. I think Lukaku on August 31 would have been £150 million. Matić would have been £60 million or £70 million. Neymar changed everything. If the biggest transfer in history had still been Pogba, I think Philippe Coutinho [the Liverpool playmaker] would now be in Barcelona at £101 million.

“People look to the £200 million figure now. Now the players of £20 million became £40 million, the players of £40 million became £60 million and everything changed. Lukaku and Matic, now, would have cost us £200 million in total. But because we did it in the first part of the summer, it was much less. I think we did well in financial terms and well in preparation terms, getting them before the season started. That is not crucial but it is important.”

Mourinho also refuted the perception of him as a short-term manager (even though he accepted that he had earned that tag in a sense, earlier in his career), and reiterated his desire to be at United for a long time.

“If people say that because I win and leave, I have to accept that because in a certain period of my career I did that,” he says. “When I win the Champions League, at Porto, at Inter, I disappear. I left Real Madrid when the club wanted me to stay. The only place I was sacked was Chelsea, but always after winning the title. “If people say that because I move from club to club, they’re right, but I don’t think I am [short-termist]. I prepare clubs for success. I think I prepare clubs in a way where, when I leave, the new manager arrives at a top club. And that is not short-term even if you leave. If you’re in a club one or two years — or any job — if you leave a structure to be even more successful without you than with you, that’s not short-term. That’s long-term. That’s long-term.

“In the past I always wanted to coach in different places. When I came to Chelsea in 2004 I never thought to stay for 20 years. Never. When I went to Italy I always had in mind I had to go to Spain. If in this moment now you ask me can I go to France or to Germany, I say, ‘Why not? Why not?’ But I’m in a different moment in my career now. I always had Spain and Italy [as places where he hoped to manage], but England is my passion and at this moment I can say I would like to stay many years.”

In other news, United have withdrawn their appeal to UEFA over Phil Jones’ ban for abusing an anti-doping official following last season’s Europa League final victory. Having already served the first of the two-match ban, Jones will be unavailable for next week’s Champions League opener against Basel. With Eric Bailly also suspended, Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelöf will most likely get their first starts of the season. That should be fun.