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Column: Manchester United hand £200million to Jose Mourinho but to achieve what?


Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is targeting six signings this summer after the club accepted to spend £200million to strengthen the squad.

He will not use the money to bet on Euro 2016 with William Hill so who will he sign and to achieve what?

The club's first signing, Eric Bailly, shows that the Portuguese is not ready to put entertainment before results but as Ronald de Boer correctly said after the appointment of Mourinho, "sometimes it is not pretty but he knows how to grind out wins".

The best example of Mourinho's tenacity and determination to achieve a win at all costs is the way Internazionale battled past Barcelona in the 2010 Champions League semi-final.

Protecting a first-leg 3-1 lead, the Nerazzurri deployed a very defensive approach at the Nou Camp which, let's face it, was not pretty to see but accomplished the mission to reach the final that they would have then won against Bayern Munich.

Now at Old Trafford, the 53-year-old's two main objectives will be to finish in the Top Four and to win the Europa League.

It would be harsh if the club demands the Premier League crown straight away. Louis van Gaal said that he needed three years to turn Manchester United's fortunes around, the "Special One" will probably need two and if he does the right things this summer and in next summer's transfer window, there is no reason why he cannot aim for the title in the 2017-2018 campaign.

In the meantime, who are the main transfer targets for next season especially now that Euro 2016 is around the corner?

Recent reports have claimed that Saul Niguez, Hirving Lozano and Andre Gomes are three players the Red Devils are keeping an eye on but in all fairness I expect Mourinho to sign one more defender, three midfielders and only one striker, someone like Gonzalo Higuain or Alvaro Morata.

The Napoli hitman demonstrated why he is one of the best, if not the best, #9 in the game at the moment. He scored a record-breaking 36 goals in the Serie A and at the age of 28 he has the quality and experience to become one of the Premier League's best strikers.

The problem? United will not feature in the Champions League next season.

The Argentinean was in tears when the Partenopei crashed out in the group stage three years ago despite beating Arsenal 2-0 and finishing with 12 points in the group.

And that's because the competition means a lot to him; it would be surprising if he decides not to feature in Europe's most prestigious competition at this stage in his career.

The same could be said for the Spaniard but he's young and if Real Madrid don't fulfil his dream to play regular football at the Santiago Bernabeu, the Premier League is a fascinating world to discover.

Arsenal, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain are all interested but the Gunners opted for the cheaper route of signing Jamie Vardy and Chelsea will also not feature in next season's Champions League.

Paris Saint-Germain will but the 23-year-old is not interested in the French league.

Knowing Mourinho, he will also do his best to strengthen the midfield. Juan Mata, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Marouane Fellaini will probably leave and rumours concerning Nemanja Matic make sense since the 27-year-old was always one of the most impressive players when the Portuguese was in charge at Chelsea.

Add another midfield player with an eye for a pass and another defender since Eric Bailly will not be a regular from day one and his squad will start to take shape.

Bailly, 22, is still very young and the Portuguese will surely be patient in the same way he was with the likes of Kurt Zouma and Ruben Loftus-Cheek at Chelsea.

Also, the Red Devils were the best defence in the Premier League last season with only 35 goals conceded and Mourinho will not destroy all the good work done by Louis van Gaal in this department.

Ultimately, it is clear that Manchester United mean business, the appointment of Jose Mourinho is a signal of intention but it's up to him to show that he's still special and a Top Four finish as well as lifting the Europa League would be the perfect start.

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