As Manchester United attempt to return to the summit of English football once again after a dire three seasons by their standards, they must finally land the key signings that will enable them to do so.
Having already acquired Jose Mourinho as Manchester United boss, a proven winner with a reputation in the game fitting for a club like Manchester United, the future of the club looks brighter than it has ever done since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Each day that passes during this summer up until Sky Sports News bring the customary close to the transfer window with deadline day, Manchester United will no doubt be linked with every player on the planet.
However, these are the five key signings Jose Mourinho should make in order to put United back to where they belong.
The defence has been one of the highlights under previous boss, Louis Van Gaal. This being said, not much is needed to strengthen this department. David de Gea may stay, feeling Mourinho is a manager he would like to work with, and then only a centre back is needed in order to strengthen the defence.
John Stones and Raphael Varane have been linked heavily with the club, but I feel Varane is the best option.
Varane is said to have considered joining United before he decided to move to Real Madrid, with Rio Ferdinand an idol of the young Frenchman. A move to United might appeal this time round.
Having a fully fit Luke Shaw back is like a new signing in itself with Cameron Borthwick-Jackson having proved to be a more than worthy backup.
In midfield, it has been clear United need strengthening in this area ever since the departure of Roy Keane back in 2005. While there are not many players in that mould anymore, United need someone with an eye for a pass, a tough tackler, and one who can contribute with the odd goal.
Marco Verratti has all these qualities in abundance, and it is staggering that he is still in the French League with Paris St Germain, given his qualities and the poor standard he faces each week.
He needs to be tested at a higher level, and on the European stage he has shown he has the qualities to play at a higher standard.
James Rodriguez and Paul Pogba too would add much needed strength to the midfield and attack.
With James not feeling loved anymore at Real Madrid under new coach Zinedine Zidane, it would appear his days at the Madrid club are over. We cannot forget the young Colombian who lit up the 2014 World Cup with his performances and his tears at getting knocked out at the hands of hosts nations Brazil. Mourinho could be the man to get the James we saw back in 2014, back playing to that standard again.
Pogba, having been let go by Sir Alex Ferguson on a free transfer four years ago, may feel he has unfinished business at Old Trafford, and could decide he has a point to prove to the watching Sir Alex Ferguson. Having won four Serie A titles and two Coppa Italia’s with the current Italian champions, he too may be in search of a new challenge.
Up front, Manchester United have unearthed two gems in Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.
While an incoming striker may harm their development, it can also act as a huge boost to their development. Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be 34 years of age, but he is available on a free transfer, and the knowledge and experience he brings to the game can only aid the development of not only his fellow strikers, but all the players in the squad, in a similar way United legend Eric Cantona did back in the 90’s.
His age too, and the length of time he is likely to be at the club, will ensure Martial and Rashford will continue to be vital to Manchester United and their progress will not be halted.
United may have struggled over the past three seasons, but all is not bad.
Talk of a huge clear out is way off the mark and is not needed. If they can add these five players and offload Marouane Fellaini, Phil Jones, Ashley Young and possibly Marcos Rojo, then I feel Jose Mourinho will have a squad capable of challenging for the top honours in the game, just like we expect as fans of Manchester United.
Most of the signings made by Louis Van Gaal have yet to show their true qualities, and with a lot more to come from the likes of Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin, they too could feel like new signings next season.
For as fans of Manchester United, our expectations can never be too high.