Manchester United are always known for making rounds in the transfer market. They’re known for their spending and smart business decisions that either get them young talent or established stars. This summer five names have been linked with either exit Old Trafford or joining the Red Devils. On opening day, is it likelier that the following players are in the Manchester United squad or not.
Anthony Martial: Despite all the rumors surrounding an impending departure, Mourinho will do everything in his power to keep in with Manchester United for at least one more season. With the likes of Lingard, Rashford, and Lukaku to miss the preseason and the first couple of weeks of the season; Martial is the lone starting choice for the Red Devils. He established himself as a starter under Louis Van Gaal though has struggled to maintain a starting spot under Mourinho. His role has fluctuated from starting off as a Number 9 to know starting to play out wide. He’s expressed frustration with both the lack of his game time and his reduced role in an unfamiliar position. This has resulted in him missing out on a place for the French National Team and his jeopardized his future with Manchester United. That being said, given that he is the sole strike option for Manchester United, he’s likely to stay to try and cement a place for himself in the starting lineup and in Mourinho’s plans. Long-term, he is likely to move out but will call Old Trafford his home for at least the next 12 months.
Harry Maguire: Manchester United are in despite need of a central defender. They are yet to find adequate replacements for their famed center back partnership of Vidic and Rio Ferdinand. They both aged out and retired leaving a gaping hole in front of goal. Smalling was by far the best central defender under Van Gaal but injury and loss of form has left him on the sidelines for the past two seasons. Vindelof was brought in to be the defender of the future. He is still developing and is yet to fully adapt to the Premier League. Maguire is a young but proven center back in English football. He was fantastic for England in the World Cup and established himself as one of the foremost center backs of the modern game. He is good with his feet and is more than comfortable to play out of the back. Maguire is a threat on set pieces – a trait needed in every defender of today’s game. If I’m Mourinho I am definitely going after him. With the transfer window closing earlier from this season onwards in the Premier League, the Gaffer has only a couple of weeks next to acquire a quality center back.
Willian: He’s been strongly linked with Barcelona for the past 18 months though in recent weeks he had gained some attention from the Red Devils. Money talks though Chelsea are unlikely to sell another of their star players to Manchester United. The signing of Matic is still a contentious topic for Chelsea and he’s left a gaping hole in the midfield of the Blues. Also, with the likelihood that Hazard and Courtois are going to make moves to Real Madrid, Chelsea will look to dampen their transfer activity to try and ship out the spine of their time. He’s been one of the brightest players at Stamford Bridge and is always full of energy. He was in and out of the lineup under Conte but with the Italian replaced by his compatriot in Maurizio Sarri at the helm; he’ll want to maintain continuity with the squad. It is unlikely he’ll leave Chelsea, let alone set up shop in Manchester.
Luke Shaw: Manchester United have next to nobody in the left back position. With Young undergoing the process of fossilization, Blind on his way back to the Netherlands, and Rojo confused as to what his best position is; Mourinho is once again stuck with a player that has fallen out of his good books. Like Martial, Luke Shaw has struggled for game time under the Portuguese manager. Shaw was touted as the left back of the future during his time at Southampton and has struggled to live up to the hype. Injuries, loss of form, being overweight, and the distrust of Mourinho of all contributed to what has seemed like a player doomed to leave Old Trafford. Shaw has been a scapegoat under his manager who has had some choice words for the young man. He’s under contract for the coming season and with a lack of options at his position, he’s the default player at left back. On the opening day of the season, he will be at Manchester United.
Mateo Kovacic: Since his move from Inter Milan from Real Madrid, the young midfielder has struggled for time on the pitch and starts. This seems to be a recurring theme for all players listed above. In his short bursts for the Los Blancos, he’s shown that he is capable of being a hardworking box-to-box midfielder. At 24 years of age, he’s a future talent. During his spell in La Liga, Kovacic has proven he can go toe-to-toe with the best of the best. Should Mourinho stay at Manchester United for years to come, Kovacic is exactly the kind of player he will need to build his midfield. If he is to make a move showing that he is concerned both about United’s present and future, he has to move for the Croat immediately.