Why Jose Mourinho didn't feel the need to buy Manchester United a right-back
Manchester United arguably had the best transfer window of all the Premier League teams. Jose Mourinho came in, targeted certain positions and players, and got them all through the door in time for the opening game of the season. In came Zlatan, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Eric Bailly and Paul Pogba. One position that was not improved was the right-back slot, which is now occupied by Antonio Valencia and Darmian. Was Jose right to trust these players in that position, or should he have seen right-back as a position to strengthen?
Valencia has started all of Manchester United’s games this season, seemingly becoming Jose’s first-choice right-back. As Jose always plays a 4-2-3-1 formation these days, it seems highly unlikely that he will ever take a formation in which there is only three at the back, and so the prospect of not needing an out-and-out right-back is less. Jose also prefers players who know their positions and their jobs. The signing of Zlatan for instance, is as much to simply score goals as it is for anything else. While Valencia may have once been a winger, Jose seems to view him as a right-back who knows his job and does it well.
Valencia also offers good ability going forward. A quality of a Jose right-back is to be able to easily push forward and create opportunities, as Branislav Ivanovic did when Jose was in charge at Chelsea. To be able to put a good cross in towards Zlatan is something that Jose will see as necessary and Valencia offers that, as well as using his pace to get back in defensive positions.
However, could it also be said that priorities for Manchester United were more important in other positions than worrying about finding a right-back better than Valencia? The club needed a striker, with Wayne Rooney playing much deeper these days and Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford still raw. A world-class goal scorer was a must, especially one that was a big-name. A strong midfielder was also a must, with Michael Carrick not as young and Morgan Schneiderlin not making the impact he was expected to. A strong box-to-box player who got fans off seats was a priority. Jose always loves a strong centre-back and so again we can expect that Bailly was someone Jose wanted as another priority. They may also have plenty of attacking midfielders, but getting Mkhitaryan who was the top assister in the Bundesliga last season, was an exciting prospect.
It could simply be that right-back was not a priority in the transfer market for a Manchester United team on its way back up, but more realistically, it could simply be that Jose views Valencia as the man to take the right-back position. He is the kind of attacking right-back that Manchester United and Jose Mourinho both love, so why is there a need to change it? Plus it worked for Fergie.
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