Bastian Schweinsteiger has managed to work his way back as far as the bench. Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay also reached that lofty height and Matteo Darmian has had a reasonable run in the first team, just not in his favoured position. That his best role has been filled by a winger who can’t defend says a lot about Darmian’s future in Mourinho’s team.

Marcos Rojo is almost a regular and Daley Blind flits in and out depending upon the opposition. Luke Shaw is yet to fully recover mentally from his injury and only time will tell if he is going to fulfill his potential and whether or not that will be at United.

Anthony Martial has gone from being a star player to a complete enigma and now looks to have an uncertain future under Mourinho.

The real success story has been a player who couldn’t get into van Gaal’s team as first choice and that is Ander Herrera. In truth, van Gaal only rubber-stamped the signings of both Herrera and Shaw, as they were earmarked for Old Trafford long before the Dutchman himself was appointed.

So has Mourinho deliberately overlooked the majority of the previous manager’s acquisitions? Is he making sure that Louis van Gaal is never in a position to say, “he did it with my team, I told you so. I would have won the league with these players”.

With credit already given to van Gaal for United being in the Community Shield game at Wembley, it is doubtful Mourinho wanted to be beholding to the Dutchman for anything else. This is not to say that his feelings would prevent him giving games to good players. On the contrary, all of van Gaal’s signings have appeared in the first team at one time or another under Mourinho.

It just seems that he has taken the player van Gaal least appreciated and given him the most game time, as if to say, “I know he can play and I will play him in his best position”. Ander Herrera has, because of this, become one of United’s most consistent performers this season.

The manager also appreciates the versatility and game reading of Daley Blind, but not as much as van Gaal did, hence he finds himself dividing his time between the pitch and the bench.

So, of the Louis van Gaal signings, Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin have already been sold. Matteo Darmian is looking for a house in Italy, if the press can be believed. Bastian Schweinsteiger can leave whenever he wants and Luke Shaw’s future is, at present, undecided. The feeling regarding Daley Blind is that he would also be allowed to leave if a good offer was made for him and it is quite surprising that this has not yet happened.

Still a largely unknown quantity, Anthony Martial could become one of the best United players of the last few years or he could disappear into oblivion. It would appear that the choice is his.

Marcos Rojo appears to have replaced Chris Smalling as a first choice centre back but this will be tested now that Phil Jones has returned to form and Eric Bailly has returned to the club. If Mourinho does buy another player for this position then Smalling is now the one most likely to be sold and Rojo kept as back-up due to his ability to play in more than one position.

As mentioned, the real success story has been Ander Herrera, who was scouted and his club approached while David Moyes was in charge. So none of the van Gaal signings can be said to have been an unqualified success.

On the flip side, Mourinho’s four signings have all played regularly and the two biggest names, Pogba and Ibrahimović, rarely miss a game. Eric Bailly has become one of the best defenders in the league and Henrikh Mkhitaryan is beginning to show his Bundesliga form at last.

Louis van Gaal went for spending big on quantity and hoped this would automatically include quality as well. It didn’t, not in the opinion of José Mourinho anyway.

Mourinho himself went for quality. He didn’t take much of a gamble. Only Eric Bailly was a relative unknown and that “gamble” has certainly paid off up to now.

This is why the future, under José Mourinho, is looking a lot better than it did under either of the previous two managers.

  1. icekiss90 says:

    First off, you said Valencia cant defend just to belittle Darmian cos Valencia has been great defensively. Secondly the whole article is baseless because your claim Mou doesnt want to use Van Gaals players is shit. Would you rather play Darmian for Valencia, or Schweini for Hererra or Pogba? Funny still is the fact that Blind plays better than Matteo yet Mou favoured Matteo and you’re here posting rubbish.


    • Firstly, I am not saying that Mourinho doesn’t want to use van Gaal’s signings, just that he has better. Secondly, Darmian was Italy’s first choice right back when he was bought, Valencia can run up and down but he can’t defend. He has no positional sense and is forever playing the opposition onside by not moving out with the rest of the defence.
      I agree that Blind was playing well, he just doesn’t fit into Mourinho’s way of thinking in some games.


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