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Scorched earth has defined Jose Mourinho’s cruel summer.

The Manchester United manager’s infamous ‘third-season syndrome’ appears in full swing after an embittered stint in the United States.

A repeat of the internal combustion infamously witnessed to terminal effect at Chelsea and Real Madrid could be under way.

But is this malevolence unfounded?

Look beyond the sensationalism that defines both ‘The Special One’ and reactions towards him. His seething anger is not without foundation.

An alternative view is this is the only way Mourinho knows how to effect the immediate changes required before the summer transfer window shuts on August 9.

A 19-point gap to Premier League champions Manchester City will not close itself and the time for half measures has long passed.

Sources of frustration and recrimination are currently found in every corner.

A stagnant market, up to 12 World Cup absentees, the continued sojourn of forward Anthony Martial – the only figure who matches Mourinho in the sullen stakes at Old Trafford – in Paris to attend the birth of his child and a succession of ill-timed injuries.

Do not forget an unwanted reliance on callow youth when his only desire is to map out an attempt on the Premier League title at the third time of asking and thinly-veiled comments that apportioned blame for Paul Pogba’s inconsistency at the feet of the superstar Les Bleus World Cup winner.

Or even the price of tickets, Chile attacker Alexis Sanchez’s visa hold up and a referee labelled as from the “baseball federation” after the awarding of two penalties in Liverpool’s 4-1 friendly thumping at the weekend.

It has been an irascible, and continued, exhibition of misery that has not gone unnoticed among United’s frustrated support, plus his peers.

“One of my biggest goals in life is to make Jose smile — it doesn’t happen very often,” was Jurgen Klopp’s response after Mourinho labelled the Liverpool manager’s U-turn on big spending as “funny”.

It is doubtful that ‘The Special One’ is in any mood to find levity. Either in the German’s sharp comments, or United’s situation after an unhelpful loss to their great rivals from Merseyside in front of more than 100,000 spectators at Michigan Stadium.

Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho
The more-entitled section of the Red Devils support have railed against Mourinho’s behaviour. Also, the bore draws against Club America, San Jose Earthquakes and AC Milan.

Conversely, would they want their manager to meekly accept a status quo that is so unsatisfying?

Those with longer memories will remember the pitch battles fought between Alex Ferguson – as he was then simply known – and chief executive Martin Edwards in the 1990s.

Esteemed targets such as Gabriel Batistuta, Rivaldo and Ronaldo slipped away as a failure to keep pace with wage growth took hold. With those names in his side, it is fair to believe the Scot would have won more than two Champions Leagues.

This has all the hallmarks of the apparent antipathy Mourinho now holds towards executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

Bar this month’s low-key recruitment of third-choice goalkeeper Lee Grant from relegated Stoke City, the club’s chequebook has collected dust since Brazil midfielder Fred was taken away from Shakhtar Donetsk for £47 million (Dh226.4m) on June 3 and teenage right-back Diogo Dalot was procured from Porto three days later for £19m (Dh91.5m).

“I would like two more players. I don’t think I’m going to have two,” Mourinho said in a testy press conference after the Liverpool reversal. “I think it’s possible I’m going to have one.

“I gave my club a list of five names a few months ago. I wait to see if it’s possible to have one of these players.”

Mourinho’s net spend of £307.3m (Dh1.5 billion) since the summer of 2016 is only bettered by City.

From the outside, it is understandable why Woodward is demanding the sales of Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo before either Leicester City’s Harry Maguire or Tottenham Hotspur’s Toby Alderweireld are bought for a fee likely to near a world record for a centre-back.

Never mind the fight for a flying forward, such as Croatia’s Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebic or Chelsea’s Brazil starter Willian.

The Portuguese will remember the unprecedented backing afforded to Pep Guardiola in the summers of 2016 and 2017 by City. Hallmarks borne by Liverpool’s repeat record-breaking captures of Netherlands centre-back Virgil van Dijk and Brazil No1 Alisson.

Mourinho does not just crave an elite centre-back and dangerous attacker. These positions are necessities.

The means are unpalatable. Especially the dismissive views about youth prospects filling gaping holes in the USA.

However, they will be justified – and largely forgotten – next May if this pair of prospective additions prove pivotal in the landing of a first Premier League crown since 2012/13.

Source: sport360

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