Manchester United has not done much in recent January transfer windows. With the current poor form, Jose Mourinho may have to add to £150 million spent in the summer transfer window. £89 million midfielder Paul Pogba has yet to impress on his return to the Old Trafford club, and Mourinho may have to answer some difficult questions if the Red Devils fail to climb back up by the end of the calendar year.
The last time United signed a player in the January transfer window was Juan Mata, who played for Mourinho at Chelsea at the time. With Mourinho’s arrival in Manchester, it did not seem that Mata would remain with the club, but that has changed. He was worth the £37 million fee that then-United manager David Moyes paid for the Spaniard. United do not necessarily need to spend. There is plenty of depth in the squad when including some of United’s talented youth players could break into the first team if given the chance. From Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard to Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, there are plenty of young and ready players for the first team. When first team players slack, the youngsters could come to the rescue. The depth is there, but the results are not entirely there yet.
Now, United has to focus on just getting on track after losing the last three matches. The Manchester derby showed that Mourinho does not know this squad well enough yet. He clearly trusted players who could not deliver when placed on the big stage. Of course, there is only so much a manager can do, but the fact that United has had such a wonderful start to the year and then go in reverse so easily is astoundingly bad. What can be done to get back on track?
United needs to focus game-by-game. Wayne Rooney is yet again the scapegoat, and has not had a performance to prove critics wrong. United’s captain is struggling but he is not the reason goals are going into the back of David de Gea’s goal. The defense looked incredibly strong in the first three matches of the season, especially new signing Eric Bailly. It seemed that the backline was clicking from day one, but that is certainly not the case now. The argument that time has to be given to a team that has not played together is irrelevant now because before they know it, they could be out of the title race, which seemed viable at the start of the season. Looking at their Manchester counterparts, City looks fine with the new manager and the changes that Pep Guardiola has brought to England. The poor form for United is not new to Mourinho because it has carried over from his brief year at Chelsea last season. He has won only seven Premier League matches in his last 21 games. Seven. Mourinho and United got a wake up call and now have to respond.
When it comes to going out and buying more players, it is not the answer. But, when it comes to Mourinho, it is difficult to tell what the Portuguese manager will do. Going out and spending more money is not the answer but there is a chance he does just that. Would these be panic buys? Possibly. Mourinho would probably be working on deals already if he were looking at specific players to bring to Old Trafford in January, but the chances that these players would make an impact is unlikely. United has to play with urgency and a desire to win. Transfers will not bring that. If Mourinho uses what he has, things should come right. So, what does Mourinho have to do in January? Maybe sell some of the extras who are struggling in his system, but on the incoming side, there should be no action. Whether Mourinho decides to have a dormant January transfer window, which he should choose to have, something has to change in order for United to get back into the winning ways that fans have been accustomed to.