The Red Devils are third and look set to secure their highest top flight finish since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. And yet there is a giant elephant in the room.
That is, of course, the noisy neighbours: Manchester City. For every top-flight win United secure, Pep Guardiola’s side to do the same. They have set a relentless pace, one no Premier League side has been able to keep up with.
Mourinho won’t be enjoying the plaudits Guardiola is receiving. The two former friends are now fierce rivals and the Red Devils boss will be hoping a City collapse occurs during the second half of the campaign.
If City do stumble, United must be ready to capitalise.
They can’t ease off the pace, every game is a must-win, no matter the opposition. It’s why United may look to bolster their squad in January.
The Red Devils may have a lot of players on their books, but few have the required quality to step in when needed, as proven in the Carabao Cup defeat to Championship side Bristol City.
Mourinho, not a manager who spends big in January, may choose to enter the market.
So in order to get a handle on what United fans are thinking ahead of the transfer window opening on January 1, we canvassed the opinion of United fans Richard Cann (@RichardCann76) from the Red Voices Podcast, Anna (@MUFC_Anna) from Anna’s Red Army and Jordan Clarke (@FourFourJordan).
Which areas do Man United need to strengthen in January and why?
Richard: In any other season this United side would be considered to be having a relative stormer, but City’s excellence has obscured the progress made. However, Mourinho still has areas of weakness to address.
A pacy, skilful right winger would add greater threat on a side where only Antonio Valencia offers genuine width.
Ultimately a No.10 is also required, but if one of these positions could be addressed in January Mourinho would be a step closer to finishing his United puzzle.
Name three realistic transfer targets you would like Man United to sign in January and who should they replace in your starting XI?
Jordan: Since Romelu Lukaku’s arrival, despite having a higher goal and assist total than any other number nine in the league, the idea in the media is that he is underachieving. For this reason, Antoine Griezmann would be my first choice.
Not only does it take the pressure of Lukaku, it will create a buzz around Manchester United again, something that is lacking since the derby at Old Trafford. His friendship with Paul Pogba would see the two bring the best out in each other, whilst also providing Mourinho more depth in quality.
My second January addition would be Real Madrid’s Mateo Kovačić. With options lacking in midfield, the Croatian would be an exciting addition and a transfer that is possible.
His lack of game time at Madrid ahead of a World Cup year may make him want to switch Spain for England, and his attacking and defensive ability would see him fit in well under Mourinho.
Thirdly, I’d love to see Justin Kluivert at Manchester United. Strong with both feet, the Dutchman could offer United something on either wing. At 18, he has plenty of room to grow and is exactly the type of exciting player the Old Trafford faithful would fall in love with.
Mino Raiola is also his agent, meaning a deal could be extremely likely if Kluivert was open to a switch to the Premier League.
What is your number one fear for the January window?
Anna: My biggest fear for the transfer window is that United fail to engage in any activity. Buying in January and making sound investments is never easy and often masquerades as ‘panic buying’. But with so many evident deficiencies – especially a lack of width – I think some investment will be required.
There’s a lot of talk about Mourinho needing to sell as a means to buying and a lot will depend on his ability to find suitors for players – namely Matteo Darmian, with Napoli reported as a possible destination.
My fear, though, akin to some recent displays, would be inertia and lack of urgency from the board to instigate any business.
Read more of our Manchester United content on their page here. We’d like to thank to Richard (@RichardCann76) from Red Voices Podcast, Anna (@MUFC_Anna) from Anna’s Red Army and Jordan Clarke (@FourFourJordan).