How Man Utd's XI could have looked if Jose Mourinho had signed his top transfer targets

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Manchester United fans couldn't have hoped for a more positive turnaround since Jose Mourinho's sacking as manager in December.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced the Portuguese when United were sixth and struggling, but now, two months down the line, they're back in the race for the top four.

Solskjaer has done an immense job in getting the players on his side and working together, which Mourinho ultimately failed to do.

A big frustration of Mourinho's was not being given the money he wanted to sign new players in last summer's transfer window.

The 'Special One' knew improvements were needed to transform United's squad into title challengers, but chief executive Ed Woodward wasn't prepared to splash out.

In the end Mourinho only spent £70m on transfers - a far cry from the £250m rebuild he was promised prior to the summer.

It's a wonder how United's starting XI could have looked if Mourinho had signed his number one transfer targets, so we've taken a look.



Nothing to see here. David de Gea is arguably the best goalkeeper in the world right now and Mourinho fought hard to keep him at United.

Real Madrid were interested until they gave up and signed Thibaut Courtois instead last summer, so United fans have Mourinho thank for that.



"In his age group, he is the best full-back in Europe and we all believe he has a bright future ahead of him at Manchester United."

Mourinho had high hopes for Diogo Dalot when he signed him for £19m and viewed the 19-year-old as the successor to Antonio Valencia. He still is.


Toby Alderweireld to United seemed inevitable last summer and Mourinho was desperate to get the deal done - even if the world-class Belgian was valued at £75m by Tottenham.

But United's board said no, reportedly for 'tactical reasons', which annoyed Mourinho and set a precedent for the rest of the summer.

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For whatever reason Mourinho was never a huge fan of Eric Bailly - injuries played a part - but he's undoubtedly United's best centre-back.

Fast, strong and still only 24 years old, the Ivorian would have thrived alongside Alderweireld, rather than inconsistent players like Phil Jones and Chris Smalling.


Like Alderweireld, Alex Sandro was one of the five names on the shortlist Mourinho gave to United's board before last summer's transfer window opened.

Mourinho gave up his pursuit in the end because of his restricted budget, but he already had a decent left-back option in Luke Shaw.

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Signed from Chelsea for £40m in the summer of 2017, Nemanja Matic has been a constant in United's midfield and was always a favourite of Mourinho's.

The 30-year-old endured a few blips in form under his old manager but was never at threat of being dropped due to his experience and class.


Paul Pogba was one of Mourinho's first signings in 2016 and their relationship deteriorated over the years due to a difference in opinion about style of play.

The Frenchman spent a period of time on the bench before Mourinho was eventually sacked, but the fact remains that he's United's best midfielder.

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United were linked with Lazio's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic around the same time as when Fred completed a £52m move last June, so nothing ever came of the rumours.

But Mourinho was always a huge admirer of the Serbian and in hindsight, United would have been wiser to splash €100m on him rather than Fred, who has been poor since joining.


Another name that was on Mourinho's five-man shortlist. Gareth Bale was supposed to spearhead United's £250m rebuild last summer - he was interested, too - but a move became unattainable.

Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo's departures from Real Madrid opened the door for Bale to become the club's leading man, meaning United missed out. What could have been.



Romelu Lukaku has taken a lot of flak since joining United for £75m in 2017 and he's now fighting for minutes under interim manager Solskjaer.

At his best the Belgian is hard to stop and there would have been less pressure on him to score goals with someone like Bale playing next to him.


Last but not least, we have Inter Milan's Ivan Perisic. United tried to sign the Croatian in 2017 and again last summer after his impressive performances at the 2018 World Cup.

Mourinho even admitted on live TV that he wanted Perisic, but Inter's valuation of £80m was too steep for United's board. Mourinho was once again left frustrated.

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