With multiple star acquisitions ready to ply their trade at Old Trafford for the upcoming season, expectations have never been higher for Manchester United since the immortal Sir Alex Ferguson was retired. Jose Mourinho, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba have United fans dreaming and perhaps expecting their team to challenge for the English Premier League title, something they have not come close to since winning since 2013.
This summer’s transfer window has re-affirmed United’s status as one of the world’s premier destinations. After all, how many teams could attract players of the calibre above while not offering Champions League football?
However, winning the summer transfer window and winning the league are two vastly different objectives. Even with multiple marquee signings in the past few years, United have flopped when it mattered most.
One should believe that this year would be different, simply because of the man at the helm. Jose Mourinho is a proven winner in England. Both David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal can be considered top managers, but neither had won anything in England before being appointed as the new United boss.
Although Van Gaal orchestrated a record-tying 12th FA Cup title for United this past season, it came at the expense of performances in the league, something that Sir Alex Ferguson would never have done. Jose Mourinho is a proven winner in the Premier League, and will add some much-needed experience to a relatively younger United team. The Portuguese boss is also renowned for aiming to win every competition he enters, and will certainly not be fielding too many weakened teams.
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic leading the line, you could be forgiven for forgetting the other players making up the forward line. But Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial will both have significant parts to play in the upcoming season. Mourinho has already assured Rashford that he will not be pushed to the sidelines after a promising debut season, while Martial is well on his way to justifying his rather hefty transfer fee.
Of course, the other player we have yet to mention just happens to be the all-time leader in goals scored for England. Alhough Wayne Rooney has not experienced the wealth of goals that characterised his early years of late, he is a match-winner on his day and perhaps a move closer to the goal will help him reclaim his spot among the deadliest marksmen in the Premier League. With the support of Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Paul Pogba, United boasts an attack that warrants comparison to the top teams in Europe.
Expectations are sky-high for the upcoming season, and as a result, securing a top-4 spot is the absolute minimum Mourinho should be aiming for. A successful season for United should entail challenging for the league title, a successful defence of the FA Cup, and a good showing in the Europa League. One thing is for sure, though; Manchester United are well on their way to becoming a European powerhouse once again.