02 Aug, 13:30
Manchester United made a strong start to life under Jose Mourinho, with the Old Trafford club scooping up two major pieces of silverware. Although the UEFA Europa League and EFL Trophy were nice to win, the Special One and his players will have their sights set on bigger things. With that in mind, the self-proclaimed Special One has spent big in the transfer market once again, as he looks to mould the squad to further suit his style of play.
David de Gea is truly world-class, and at times, he’ll undoubtedly win Manchester United points on his own. Keeping hold of the Spaniard is as good as making a new signing in itself. Some of the saves he makes are just out of this world, and he provides a solid foundation for the Old Trafford club to build upon.
In the full-back slots, you’ll have Luke Shaw on the left and Antonio Valencia on the right. Although it may be a month or two before we see the English left-back in action once again as he’s currently out injured. Both provide real width in attack and top quality on the defensive side of the ball, particularly Valencia, who has turned into a real integral part of the team.
Then you have two top talents at the heart of the defence. Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof. Bailly’s an aggressive defender who is always in search of the ball, and his front-foot style of play causes attackers all sorts of problems. On top of that, he’s lightning quick, meaning he’s a man for all situations. Victor Lindelof, formerly of SL Benfica, had a mixed pre-season tour of the United States of America, but on the whole, he looks like a stellar signing. Although, he’ll need time to fully adapt.
For the majority of last season, Mourinho played a two-man midfield of Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba. The Basque-born midfielder provided the energy and legs, whereas his French counterpart added that bit of flair and sheer attacking quality.
However, this season they’ll be joined by a Serbian brute, Nemanja Matic. The former Chelsea defensive-mid will reunite with Mourinho at the Theatre of Dreams, and the 29-year-old is a player that the former Madrid boss trusts wholeheartedly. In my opinion, this could well be the most important incoming transfer of this season, purely due to the freedom that he’ll give to the talented Pogba.
United have a brilliant blend of players in attack, too. Romelu Lukaku has proven himself one of the best strikers in the England over the last few years, and although it’s controversial, he’s a definite upgrade on Zlatan Ibrahimovic due to the mobility he brings to the table.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is just a wonderful footballer to watch on his day and the way he glides past his opponent with consummate ease is poetry in motion. The Armenian star was hit and miss last campaign, but that’s been a trait of his wherever he goes. I’m expecting a big season from him in 2017/18. On the left, Anthony Martial will get the nod more often than not. The French talent has been brilliant during United’s pre-season tour, and he’ll take that into the season proper. He showed his talents in his debut year, but regressed somewhat last year. That will change over the next twelve months, though, and obviously for the better.