Manchester United did not follow through with some of José Mourinho’s transfer targets because of misgivings about the players he had identified and a decision, from the top of the club, 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.
As the transfer window closed on Thursday with no more arrivals at Old Trafford, new details have emerged that highlight the differences between an increasingly disaffected manager and the people above him, primarily the executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, in terms of the players on Mourinho’s wishlist and whether they would have been worth the money.
To Mourinho’s intense irritation, United’s conclusion was that in most cases he had targeted defenders who were no better than those they already had and who, in today’s inflated market, could conceivably have cost upwards of £70m without vastly improving the team.
Also, Woodward wants to keep Martial and that, again, is a serious issue between club and manager. Mourinho was willing to cut Martial free and, behind the scenes, he has been withering in his assessment of the player.
The suspicion of United’s hierarchy is the manager is taking a short‑term view rather than thinking more strategically about what would be better for the club in the coming years
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