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Flexing muscles and preparing for next season – clever not FIFA

Jose Mourinho’s arrival at Manchester United last summer was meant as a sign of a new dawn at the club, after a spell of massive underperforming in the years after Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure.

Upon his arrival, the former Real Madrid and Chelsea manager spent like a 12-year-old playing on FIFA.

He went out into the market and took the best in all positions and looked to build a new spine at Old Trafford.

Whilst his signings took a while to bed in, the Red Devils have finally hit their stride under Mourinho and are driving themselves back into the upper echelons of the Premier League.

The Portuguese has been ruthless in his assessments of the Manchester United squad since his arrival at the theatre of dreams, publicly criticising his back four – specifically Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling – and exiling one of the most respected midfielders and a World Cup winner in Bastian Schweinsteiger.

His decisions, it seems, are beginning to pay off considering the up-turn in form, and he is beginning to show why the board chose him to restore the club to former glories.

Whilst I compared the Red Devils’ dealings in the summer to that of a child’s, their business this month is playing out in a much more acute manner.

Mourinho is continuing to trim his squad, which was swelled with players who, whilst being undoubtedly talented, are not of the star ilk that a club of Manchester United’s stature should be bringing in.

The sales of midfielders Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay, both signed by Louis Van Gaal, give Mourinho more room to manoeuvre this month, and he appears to be using that room wisely.

Having landed his key deals in the summer, the manager has a base to work from and is beginning to look ahead to next season in order to build on it.

Mourinho has never lasted long at a club, staying for two-to-three years before moving on to another stop. However, the Special One has committed to building something in the red half of Manchester, and appears determined to stick around and make it happen.

With former Southampton defender Luke Shaw now looking out-of-favour, Mourinho is now planning for his summer replacement as well as looking to once again show the levels he wants to take the club to under his guise.

A record-breaking summer deal for Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann looks increasingly more likely to happen, with reports of a weekly-wage and shirt number already agreed upon, Depay’s No.7, maybe?

Breaking the world record transfer fee is something that would very much establish Manchester United back amongst the European greats, alongside the likes of Real Madrid. They may not be on par in terms of silverware in recent years, but that is something that Mourinho’s intuitive, long-term, dealings can change quicker than you think.

The quick rotation of Manchester United managers since the departure of Sir Alex proves that success is something that is expected quickly at Old Trafford, but in Mourinho the board know they have someone who can build to make success last, even if he doesn’t exactly have a track record of doing so.