Alex Sandro deal: Why Manchester United need more to dethrone City
Alex Sandro has agreed to join Manchester United. The Brazilian was destined for the Premier League after putting forth stellar performances for Juventus. He has been a long-time target for Chelsea, The Blues made several attempts to bring him to Stamford Bridge, but no deal materialised. Ashley Young has been the stop-gap at left back for the club. The 27-year-old's acquisition represents a permanent solution and probably the end of Luke Shaw's tenure.
Jose Mourinho is not one to pass up a good buy when he sees one. The Portuguese is on a mission to reclaim the league title for Manchester United. It's long overdue for both manager and club.
The Theatre of Dreams was once synonymous with success. Winning trophies had been a culture. Mourinho was brought in because he knows how to do it. But after beginning his reign in Manchester on the right foot, he lost his Midas touch in 2017/18.
Manchester City dominated the league. Pep Guardiola won the title with relative ease, breaking records every step of the way. United played second fiddle all season, as they have done for a few now.
From Leicester to Chelsea to City, the league title is making the rounds, but it has ignored Old Trafford. To the club's faithful, things are not quite right. Mourinho tried all he could last term to set the records straight but fought a losing battle. His players failed to deliver the goods.
But the buck stops at his table. He assembled the team. He also decides who plays, who doesn't and the strategy for every game. Any success or failure traces back to him.
Displeased with certain players' performance, the transfer period presents Mourinho the opportunity to remedy the situation. United have been busy.
Three new signings have already been announced. Alex Sandro will be the fourth. Areas already strengthened include midfield, fullbacks and the goalkeeping position.
But a glaring need was overlooked. United's biggest problem has been at the centre of defence. This area should take priority over even the midfield.
That's not to say adding Fred to the mix was not a good move, but none of United's current central defenders was exceptional last season. Eric Bailly was injured, Marcos Rojo, too. Victor Lindelof failed to impress. Phil Jones was prone to errors, Chris Smalling looked a shadow of his former self. His England World Cup snub says it all.
In addition to these basic issues, none of these players can compare favourably with top class central defenders. The most successful club in England should be able to boast having the best players in every positive on the pitch. Why not, when it wants to always win and can afford these players?
Mourinho and Manchester United need to make a move for some of the best centre-backs in Europe. Players like Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Toby Alderweireld.
Bring them to Old Trafford and back them up with two the group above. Then we can begin to talk about taking over the dominance of England and even the continent.