In Depth

Jose Mourinho’s fury: Man Utd boss troubled by failed transfers, lies and Paul Pogba

Portuguese manager hits back at rumours of unrest at Old Trafford

Jose Mourinho warned earlier this week that if Manchester United failed to strengthen their squad before the transfer deadline it would be a “difficult season” at Old Trafford.

His transfer fears came true. When the deadline passed at 5pm on Thursday there were no new arrivals at Old Trafford.

The Premier League season kicks off tonight when United host Leicester City and all eyes will be on Mourinho. His transfer frustrations dominate the UK football press this morning and there are rumours of discontent between the Portuguese boss and the Old Trafford board.

£100m bid for Varane

Earlier this summer United bought midfielder Fred, full-back Diogo Dalot and back-up keeper Lee Grant, but it was in central defence where Mourinho was really seeking new faces.

Harry Maguire, Toby Alderweireld, Jerome Boateng, Yerry Mina, Diego Godin and Raphael Varane were all linked, but no deals materialised in the window.

It’s reported by The Sun that United were actually prepared to shell out £100m for French World Cup winner Varane, but Real Madrid were not interested in selling.

The Daily Telegraph adds that United’s board would only sanction the signing of a world-class defender such as Varane, but refused to bring in a “lesser” player, despite Mourinho’s demands.

Jose vetoed

Mourinho’s transfer targets were not shared by the United board. The Guardian reports that Mourinho’s wishlist was vetoed by United as there were concerns that “he should not be allowed to get his way if it meant potentially wasting tens of millions of pounds on a short-term fix”.

Mourinho was left irritated by the lack of signings, says the Guardian, as his bosses believed the targets were no better than the players he already had.

The Daily Mail reports that Mourinho was left “furious, angry and frustrated” after yesterday’s failed transfers. 

‘A lie repeated 1,000 times is still a lie’

At the pre-match press conference ahead of the Leicester clash Mourinho hit back at claims of unrest at Old Trafford, Sky Sports reports.

Despite no new defenders, Mourinho insisted he was happy with his squad, but accused critics of lying about any turmoil. He said: “I have my players, I like my players, I like to work with my players.

“One lie repeated 1,000 times is still a lie, but the perception of the people is that it’s true but it’s still a lie. So, when you repeat 1,000 times that my relationship with my players is not good, it’s a lie that repeated 1,000 times is still a lie.

“But again, the perception of the people that read can be different, but I like my players and my group. I enjoy the last season, the fight to finish where we finished and to manage the best position in five or six years.

“I’m going to enjoy this season. Again, I know the words you want me to say or not to say. It depends on the music, but words for me don’t come easy.”

Be more like City

United finished second in the Premier League last season but ended up a massive 19 points behind champions and big rivals Manchester City.

According to the Daily Mirror, United chiefs have told Mourinho that the club needs to be more like their neighbours - both on and off the pitch.

United’s top brass want to follow City by “developing young talents instead of going for big-money older stars” that Mourinho prefers.

Pogba puzzle

Barcelona are keen on signing Paul Pogba, but United don’t want to sell. If he remains at Old Trafford beyond the 31 August European transfer deadline how do the club, and Mourinho, manage the World Cup-winning star?

It’s clear that Mourinho and Pogba don’t always have the best relationship but the French midfielder is a huge talent and someone who could play a key part in bringing trophies back to Old Trafford.

As ESPN’s Rob Dawson says: “Mourinho and Pogba’s frosty relationship is a puzzle Manchester United must solve.”

What lies ahead for Jose and United?

Mark Ogden, senior writer at ESPN, says that Manchester United and their fans should “brace themselves for a bumpy ride”.

Ogden writes: “Not for the first time in his managerial career, the story has become about Mourinho rather than the club where he’s currently in charge; it is rarely a signpost toward a positive and successful future when that happens.”

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