In the wake of Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat to Manchester City, attention has again turned to the forthcoming January transfer window.
No amount of mid-season spending will close the gap between the local rivals at present. The absence of a coherent transfer strategy at Old Trafford is in sharp contrast to the joined up thinking and unrelenting transfer success rate across town.
This squad needs reshaping, but given that Jose Mourinho has had two and a half years and hundreds of millions pounds so far and failed to do so, the club are clearly doubting whether he is the right man to do that.
Jose and the club look set for another transfer battle over the future of one player…
What’s the story, then?
According to the Telegraph, Mourinho wants to offload Eric Bailly in January in order to fund a swoop for a new centre-back, with Milan Skriniar and Toby Alderweireld on his shopping list.
The report says that Bailly fears he has lost his manager’s trust and Mourinho would be willing to offload him if it boosted his chances of landing an improved central defender.
What’s the issue?
The Bailly scenario arose in the summer, but with regards the future of Anthony Martial. Mourinho wanted to get rid of him but the club vetoed the move.
That has actually served to save Mourinho’s bacon at times this season; Martial has been United’s most consistently potent attacker and has hauled his manager out of a crisis period that was building in early October.
That fact will only reinforce the club’s idea that Mourinho is not the right man to reshape this squad and they will feel vindicated in standing up to the manager with regards selling another young, promising player of a similar age.
Bailly is United’s most talented central defender and could easily flourish elsewhere, so the club are right on this one too. It looks like Mourinho is set to lose another power struggle, and that is the best move for a club that faces a major rebuilding job once he has gone – whenever that may be.