It was a rather uncomfortable pre-season at Manchester United.
Jose Mourinho had do without a large chunk of his first-team squad after they were given extended holidays following World Cup duties.
As a result, The Red Devil's pre-season tour of America turned into somewhat of a fiasco, catergorised by Mourinho’s temper tantrums and a few thoroughly unimpressive performances.
However, United proved that they were still able to do the business when it matters by beating Leicester City in the opening game of the new Premier League season.
World Cup winner Paul Pogba opened the scoring before Luke Shaw doubled their lead.
They were made to work for it late-on after a late Jamie Vardy header but they clung onto to secure a valuable three points.
While United might not be necessarily exciting under Jose Mourinho, they know how to win football games.
However, fans and experts alike are not terribly excited about United’s chances of catching Manchester City this year, especially after their underwhelming business in the transfer market.
United made just three signings during the summer, and while Fred showed some encouraging signs against Leicester, it is feared that it simply won’t be enough to reign City in.
The entire summer window turned into a fevered pursuit of a centre-back capable of strenghtening United’s backline with Mourinho hopping from one potential option to the next.
Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld was perhaps the player that looked most likely to sign for United but the move never materialised in the end.
Jerome Boateng was another name strongly touted to make the switch but again, that move vanished into thin air.
In the end, no new centre-back was signed leaving United fans with a lot of questions.
However, according to Sky, United had some very good reasons for opting out of deals with Alderweireld and Boateng.
Bayern Munich were apparently asking way too much for Boateng who has a rather sketchy record when it comes to injury and after deals for Bastian Schweisteiger and Owen Hargreaves proved to be flops, United decided it was best to leave it alone.
As far as Alderweireld goes, a scouting report is said to have identified that the Belgian operates better in a three-man defence which is a system Mourinho does not favour.
Well there you have it.
Both deals carried just too much risk for the powers-that-be at United to okay them and in the end United ended the window without the defensive signing that they craved.
It is too early to tell whether or not that will come back to bite them, but at least their reasoning for withdrawing their interest make a lot of sense.
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