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Jose Mourinho is bringing back the decisive United

Wednesday 13th July 2016
It's been over three years since Sir Alex Ferguson retired from management. Since his departure Manchester United haven't quite been the same side, the results haven't been as relentless and the football not so cavalier. But one thing they did lose wasn't an on-field attribute, but an off-field necessity for any title winners.
Between Sir Alex's departure and the hiring of Jose Mourinho, two permanent managers have come and gone. David Moyes, and Louis Van Gaal have taken the mantle and ultimately failed to deliver the goods. (All be it the latter did, of course, lift the FA cup). They each had their own different reasons for their failure but there's one mistake both men had in common. Indecision and lack of action within the transfer window. When it came to regaining the title at Old Trafford rebuilding the squad was important no matter who was in charge, but both men failed to act as they should have.

David Moyes took until deadline day of 2013 to sign a player in his one and only summer in charge. Marouane Fellaini. After wild goose chases of names such as Gareth Bale, Cesc Fabregas and reportedly United favourite Cristiano Ronaldo the only player brought in was Moyes' old friend from Everton. Much to United fans dismay. His squad needed incomings but the scot lived up to his nickname of "dithering Dave" and failed to address the situation at all despite the spending power to do so, we won't even bother delving into the embarrassing 11th-hour loan move for Fabio Coentrao.
Van Gaal, although signing 6 players in his first summer, was left scrambling late in his first summer window. Angel Di Maria was signed after the Premier League season had begun. And on deadline day he signed Daley Blind and the now infamous Falcao. It didn't exactly scream pre-planning. His second summer ran a little smoother, however after a flurry of signings involving Memphis Depay, Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger all before mid July, it took him until deadline day to sign another player. This was of course Anthony Martial, his most successful signing in his two years, however after publically seeking an attacker all summer he took a gamble on a young man. Not to mention failing to sign a centre back once again.

Now however, United have appointed Mourinho. His qualities are no secret to anyone, his record outstanding, his tactics genius and his charisma undeniable. Amongst all these he has brought one important thing to Old Trafford. Decision. And early decision at that. Since his appointment he has even said himself what his transfer policy was. "We made a nucleus of four priorities, four positions to give a certain balance to the squad. When we have the fourth I breathe." These were the words from the man himself on his first day facing the media. He already has three and it is no secret who the fourth is. He also insisted it will be sorted much earlier than "August 31" suggesting if the chase for Paul Pogba is failing he will move on to a new target as oppose to an idle approach.
Setting aside the obvious talents he brings to the manager position, this decision and preplanning is as vital as any other. He is bringing order to an otherwise farcical routine that has set in at Old Trafford. The scatter gun and hope approach that had become such a bad habit for United over recent seasons was not working. The one "world beater signing" they had accomplished proved to be a dud and after just one poor year Di Maria departed for Paris. Mourinho has assessed all aspects of his squad and in turn acted immediately. He hasn't waited till the end of a pre-season tour before replacing anyone or simply chased a man who won't move, he has pin pointed achievable players and matched the fee required.

Some would argue Chief Executive Ed Woodward should take the blame for recent transfer failings and while this isn't entirely false he can't take the whole blame. His naivety in the window was and perhaps still is a factor, but it is still down to the manager to target players and look to acquire them. Mourinho has used a different method so far. He has turned to players agents to help with deals. So far Mino Raiola has brought two of his clients to Old Trafford (Mkhitaryan and Ibrahimovic) and a third is well underway in Pogba. Mourinho has used all resources to sign and negotiate with the players he wants, as oppose to simply hoping things turn out right in the end.

Mourinho is merely meeting his own tried and tested formula. Buy your big players early, bed them in and get them adapted within the team. The sooner those players are in your team the sooner they can gel with the rest. It's really quite simple when you put it into perspective. Now if Paul Pogba were to sign in the coming days it doesn't mean that will be it for United in the window, one or two more may arrive but the likelihood of them being main men is slim. It's more likely they will be to bolster thin areas of the squad. It is however very clear that Mourinho wants to and in turn has bucked the unwanted trend at Old Trafford, scrapping for big names on deadline day is not within his interests even if it is exciting to see at the time.

This was in some ways his first test at Old Trafford. Ensuring the squad was up to the task, bringing in the right players and bringing them in swiftly with little fuss. So far he has passed this test that his predecessors failed even without signing Pogba, if the Frenchman does return to Manchester then Mourinho has truly banished the lingering ghost of past summers at The Theatre of Dreams.
Ryan Stewart

23 years old, Sport Journalism graduate living in Salford. Work in web content in Media city and always looking to break in to sports writing. Manchester United season ticket holder.


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