It’s no secret that José Mourinho’s career is a history of short stints at multiple top clubs. Though in the past he has expressed interest in both staying for an extended period and leaving for another job in the future, the current Manchester United boss has most recently expressed his frustration at lack of transfer funds from Ed Woodward and the United board.
Mourinho has brought in 7 players in his two seasons at the club thus far, spending close to £300m, but claims it isn’t enough to compete with Manchester City for the premier league title.
In a sense, Mourinho is right.
United have only recently begun to splash the cash on the regular, whereas City have been trying to break their own transfer records nearly every summer since 2009.
Mourinho’s moves have certainly improved the club, and even transfers from Moyes and Van Gaal’s tenures have performed under the new boss.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the only one of Mourinho’s transfers to face regular benching, was a main contributor last season, and should not be doubted to return to form. Victor Lindelöf has yet to prove himself, but has shown promise, especially in his European appearances. Zlatan Ibrahimović, last season’s hero, still has time to make a further impact after returning from a knee injury. Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku, the first and second most expensive United transfers respectively, have elevated this United side. Eric Bailly and Nemanja Matić have also further secured things on the defensive end. Each of Mourinho’s targets has served a purpose, and repaid the trust of the United board.
It is clear from Mourinho’s signings that he’s a better shopper than his last two predecessors. It is also abundantly clear from the £75m price Liverpool have just shelled out for Virgil Van Dijk the the inflation of the transfer market isn’t stopping anytime soon. The board’s hesitation to spend money cannot continue if the club wants to regain its place at the top of the footballing world. It doesn’t matter how popular the brand is if the team does not start winning again.
If Woodward truly wants Mourinho for the long haul he must give him what he wants in the transfer market, or risk having to find a 4th manger in 5 years since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
The board must keep their faith in Mourinho and give him the resources he needs to bring in the right talent for his system, evaluate his performance after 3 seasons and make a decision for the future then.
Despite improvement under Mourinho and the arrival of world class talent, Woodward may risk Mourinho’s departure should more transfer funds not become available. Perhaps as soon as January 1st Mourinho will look to the market for reinforcements, and the United board should be ready to pay out if they still trust their chosen man to deliver more silverware and put pressure on the noisy neighbors.