Jose Mourinho was officially unveiled as Manchester United manager earlier today, where he took the opportunity to sketch out what we can expect from his United reign, including the end of Wayne Rooney's brief spell as a midfielder.
Although Mourinho was never likely to say it publicly, his arrival was always likely to lead to an improvement in the club's fortunes in the transfer market. Ed Woodward's capacity to screw up a transfer deal has been truly outstanding:when signing Juan Mata from Mourinho's Chelsea, he refused to negotiate directly with Chelsea for fear Chelsea would prise Wayne Rooney from Old Trafford.
Mourinho's arrival, by contrast, was always likely to ensure a much better transfer policy at United, thanks in part to his remarkable ability to cultivate relationships with football agents. His close working relationship with Jorge Mendes has been public knowledge for some time, with the Portuguese agent given his own desk at Real Madrid's training base during Mourinho's time at the Bernabeu.
Mourinho seems to be in the process of becoming equally friendly with Mino Raiola, another of Europe's super agents. Raiola has already helped to broker deals for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and he may be just the man to stiffen United's midfield through deals for a further couple of French internationals.
United's interest in signing Paul Pogba has been known for some time, but they have also been linked this evening with a move for Blaise Matuidi. Matuidi was given time off from Fench training to have discussions with an English club over a possible transfer, and following PSG's signing of Polish midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak, Matuidi's departure looks all the more likely.
Guillaume Dufy of L'Equipe is tonight reporting that the English club Matuidi is most likely to join is Manchester United, with the fee believed to be in the region of €25 million. Mourinho's eagerness to land Matuidi is believed to be the main factor in pushing the deal through.
Mourinho's overhaul of United is taking form. Ominous for the rest of the Premier League.