Manchester United's name had barely been inscribed on the FA Cup for a record-equalling 12th time when Jose Mourinho was confirmed as replacement for Louis van Gaal. The overhaul of the club's squad has been just as radical, with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward finally landing some of his most sought-after targets.
Eric Bailly, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have all arrived in the highest profile summer since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson. United have outspent the whole of Europe in an attempt to return to the summit of English football, a necessary bout of spending after three years without challenging for the title.
Mourinho's arrival has not instigated the departures of any high profile players, despite Juan Mata's future appearing to be untenable after he was offloaded at Chelsea by his nemesis, the Portuguese. Only Nick Powell and Paddy McNair have left permanently, while Adnan Januzaj has joined Sunderland on a season-long loan. Michael Carrick will not be joining them after agreeing a new contract.
- Premier League: 5th
- FA Cup: Winners
- League Cup: Fourth round
- Top scorer: Anthony Martial (17)
Manager – Jose Mourinho
The Portuguese manager has the job at Old Trafford he has always craved, but after the sheen of his reputation in England was wiped away by the collapse of Chelsea's title-winning squad last term, he returns with a point to prove. Mourinho may be a proven winner but he represents a change of tact from the Glazer family who have previously invested in reserved individuals with at the very least a long-term view.
Nothing about the outspoken Mourinho correlates with United's desire to be perceived as an inoffensive, accessible global brand, while supporters should be braced for a style of play at odds with the club's tradition. Despite his protestations, Mourinho's history with young players must also be a concern particularly after 14 players were promoted via the academy last term. Nevertheless, Mourinho is a proven winner - which above all else makes him ideal for the insatiable appetite of their fanbase.
Key player – Anthony Martial
One of the rare positives from the 2015-16 campaign was Martial's rapid adaptation to life in the Premier League, which quickly nullified criticism of his move from Monaco at the end of the transfer window. The France international proved himself as a premier marksman last term, possessing the kind of cold-blooded ruthlessness required to succeed at the top of the sport.
Towards the end of the last campaign Martial was only used fleetingly as a centre-forward and instead occupied the left side – and with the addition of Ibrahimovic assumes that will continue. But whether Mourinho will be happy with accommodating a player whose strengths are not suited to going in the opposite direction is yet to be seen.
The appointment of the most famous manager on the planet and signing of four marquee players means United's return to the business-end of the Premier League table is not just expected, it is almost taken for granted. The prophesising of the club's marketing department means the self-styled world's biggest club cannot stay out of the limelight for long. The Glazers, if not Mourinho, will demand it.
IBT prediction – 2nd
Mourinho took time to bring success to Real Madrid and during his second spell at Chelsea, and given the issues he inherits United may have to wait a season before reclaiming their crown – despite the raft of new faces.