Henrikh Mkhitaryan set to join Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford
JOSE MOURINHO officially begins his role as Manchester United boss on Monday and will immediately look to further bolster his squad.
Eric Bailly and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are set to be joined by Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the Armenia midfielder who is to sign from Borussia Dortmund. Paul Pogba could also return to Old Trafford, the France midfielder having been jettisoned by Alex Ferguson before thriving at Juventus.
Pogba, who would reportedly cost a world record fee in the region of £100million, is an example of Ferguson losing faith in young talent. But one nurtured so well by the Scot has now left Manchester United after 29 years. Ryan Giggs departed last week to pursue his managerial career, having previously warned United must continue to develop youth players. Mourinho will likely defend his record at promoting youth when he is unveiled as boss, but he will be expected to show his faith in Marcus Rashford and others on the pitch.
Mourinho has two reputations to rebuild - United's and his own. He was appointed successor to Louis van Gaal in May after a mixed 2015-16 campaign, which saw the Red Devils win the FA Cup but only finish a disappointing fifth in the Premier League. And last term saw him depart Chelsea in acrimony as the Blues turned from champions to flirting with the relegation zone in seven months.
Mourinho will aim to show there is no lasting stain on his reputation by bidding to transform the United squad. As well as incomings, there will be outgoings, but goalkeeper David de Gea is among those Mourinho will be determined to keep. Juan Mata will be wondering what the future holds after being sold by Mourinho to United when he was at Chelsea.
Two signings have been made and more are expected. Ivory Coast defender Bailly joined the club last month from Villarreal in a £30million deal, while Ibrahimovic's signing was announced last week. The 34-year-old striker, who recently called time on his Sweden career, was a free agent following his departure from Paris St Germain at the end of last term. Ibrahimovic has signed a one-year contract with the option of a 12-month extension and previously worked with Mourinho at Inter Milan.
Mkhitaryan appears likely to join prior to Mourinho's first match in charge, in Shanghai against the Armenian's current employers Dortmund on July 22. The first contest between Pep Guardiola's Manchester City and Mourinho's United takes place in Beijing on July 25.
The pair endured a fractious rivalry while Mourinho was boss of Real Madrid and Guardiola led Barcelona. Mourinho won La Liga with Real in 2012 before Guardiola's sabbatical and will hope he can continue to win the duel between the pair.