Manchester United have spent over £460m in the three years, including a £140m outlay on three players in the summer just gone, since Alex Ferguson’s departure but manager José Mourinho has claimed that it will take at least another two transfer windows in order to get the squad to a level that he is happy with.
To that end, the Daily Telegraph are reporting that over the next two transfer windows (i.e. next month and at the end of the season), Mourinho will look to bring in four more players who will in all likelihood cost the club over £180m in combined transfer fees.
The only one of those players to be signed this season is Benfica defender Victor Lindelof. Multiple, and increasingly reputable, sources have claimed that Man United are just days away from completing a £38m deal to bring the Swedish international to Old Trafford. Ideally he would also have been signed in the summer, but interest from other clubs in Europe has forced Mourinho’s hand to wrap it up in January.
An early deal also comes with the added benefit of providing extra cover for Eric Bailly, who is due to play in the African Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast next month.
As per the report, Man United also have an interest in Lindelof’s teammate Nelson Semedo. Reports in Portugal earlier in the week had linked the club with a move for the 23-year-old right-back, who is likely to cost north of £25m and will hasten the departure of Matteo Darmian.
While the above two deals are somewhat likely to materialise (Lindelof in particular could be confirmed before the transfer window even officially opens), the other two targets will be somewhat more of a challenge.
Tiemoué Bakayoko, an increasingly important cog in the Monaco machine, is apparently being eyed up to be part of a renovated Manchester United midfield. None of Morgan Schneiderlin, Marouane Fellaini or Bastian Schweinteiger are expected to be at the club next season, while Michael Carrick will be 36 this summer, so £35m Bakayoko is seen as someone whose pace and physicality can have a huge impact in the starting eleven.
However, Antonio Conte has had similar thoughts. The Times reported last week that Chelsea have identified the 23-year-old as the perfect replacement for Oscar, who is due to complete a £60m move to Shanghai SIPG in the Chinese Super League early in the window.
The Blues would be in a greater position to sign Bakayoko in January if they want to, which automatically gives them the edge. If they don’t, however, Mourinho will look to beat his old side to the player’s signature in the summer.
Finally, in what could be the big transfer saga of next summer, Anotoine Griezmann would be the most expensive transfer should it come to fruition. The French international has an £84m release clause and Atlético Madrid are unlikely to settle for anything less than that, though if money wasn’t a problem for Man United then the transfer negotiations would be brief.
Griezmann has never wavered from his public declaration of loyalty to the 2016 Champions League finalists, but if manager Diego Simeone leaves the Calderón at the end of the season then that could change the player’s stance considerably.
With the number of comings in and out over the next six months, expect next season’s Manchester United squad to look markedly different to this one.