Figuring out how best to set up our midfield seems to be, by far, the most difficult puzzle Mourinho will have to face. Including a few fantasy purchases, I thought I'd managed to create the perfect starting eleven. But as I contemplated my creation, I quickly realized it was one that would be slated by my tactically adept WAGNH compatriots. You see, the midfield seemed quite light in the defensive department.
I struggled to fit in new players, and began to understand that my biggest hindrance was my allegiance to Mazacar. And maybe that it is nigh on impossible to present a flawless team with all three amigos on the pitch.
Nevertheless. This is a 100 million pound competition. And with some useful additions to the squad, I'm certain Mourinho will solve the puzzle. Now, to the drawing board.
Every player whose contract is up. Thankfully that now excludes Frank. But Malouda and Ferreira will be missed, although mostly on a sentimental basis.
That's Malouda turning Rio Ferdinand inside out. Remind me why Marin and Yossi played a single minute of football this past season, anyone?
Torres. I've read the articles about the revenue his 'image' brings us, about how important his 22 goals have been. But to me, if you can't cut it in the Premiership, your time is up. 15 goals in 82 matches does not a top-club striker make. Also, who amongst us is not sick of having to defend him against flop accusations or, like me, constantly moan about one of our own players. Can't think of the last time I saw his name in the line-up without sighing hopelessly or making some vulgar remark that I'm not too proud of. Anywhere between 5-10 million and Atletico will have him back.
Marin should really just be sold on, for whatever measly amount, as he won't ever rise in the current or the future pecking order.
(Temporarily) out with…
All the youngsters - McEachran and Chalobah are deserving of top-tier clubs - bar one. Kevin de Bruyne. 10 goals and 9 assists for a team that survived a relegation scrap is very impressive. And I'm sure everyone's taken note of the constant praise he's received throughout the season. The gif's and videos posted on here of him doing his thing have been Mazacar-worthy. For example...
Courtois shall remain at Atletico as Cech remains one of the best keepers in the world, as well as already being a club legend. People forget he's only 31.
Coming back home…
Essien! What on earth has he been doing playing 27 games in a better team than ours for? Mourinho will know exactly what to do with him, and if nothing else, at least the Bison will be an invaluable squad player in the coming few years.
Messi being reminded why he's never scored against Chelsea
Lukaku joins up with Mourinho, who will call him 'Didinho', and rotate with our newly purchased mystery man - don't scroll down just yet. 10 goals in 17 starts and 6 goals in 15 sub appearances for West Brom. Every club in England except for the Mancs would probably use him as their number one striker. I can't see Mourinho stalling his development, instead I think he'll mould the young Belgian into a world-beater. I won't post any videos of him here, I'll just say this: Carragher.
Setting up shop at Fulham road...
Zlatan. At the most a 20 million pound setback, considering PSG bought him for less. He'd love the challenge, having done it all in every top league but ours. PSG won't have any trouble replacing him with a Rooney or Cavani of some sort. Sure, he's 31. But with Lukaku not ready to lead the line just yet, Zlatan is the perfect stop-gap for two or three years. His presence on the teamsheet basically guarantees trophies.
Mourinho knows him from their Inter days. His outlandish technical skill will mesh well with Mata and Hazards, possibly producing some mouthwatering football. Also, he bangs in boatloads of goals. 65 in 81 matches over the past two seasons (compare with Torres' 15 in 82). He's a big lad (1.95m) and won't have any trouble adapting to the Premierships hardass-ness. So the upcoming season sees Zlatan as our top striker, ahead of Lukaku and finally Ba.
The only player in the world who constantly invents new ways to score goals
Marek Hamsik. 35 million would probably persuade Napoli to give him up. At 25 years of age, I see him as the ideal long-term replacement for Lampard. He has a similar skillset to a young Frank bar the defensive concentration, which I'm sure Mourinho could coax out of him. Seeing as Lamps was the most important player in Mou's title-winning side, perhaps he could utilize Hamsik to the same effect.
He's been the midfield maestro of a Napoli team that finished second only to a magnificent Juventus in Seria A this season, racking up 11 goals and a league-best 14 assists. Considering Cavani's imminent departure and Benitez appointment, I can't see him wanting to stick around. He could transform our midfield and I really can't understand why we haven't been linked more heavily with him.
See the lobbed pass, followed by the cleverly timed run deep into the box... Very Lampardesque
So what's missing? A starting central defender seems to be what everyone is pining for. I think there's a chance that Mou will stick with what we've got. Luiz starts. Then there's Brana, Cahill and Terry. Terry will fight for Mou, that much we know. I wouldn't be surprised to see him completely revitalized next season and re-earning that starting spot. He is still our captain.
The other options - Hummels, Subotic, Marquinhos, Varane - are all good ones, but also very pricey. While I would celebrate the acquisition of any of those, we also have some very promising youngsters in defense and I reckon we should see what Mou can do with the available roster before spending big on that part of the pitch. Looking at how the premiership panned out this season, with United running away with the title despite conceding 43 goals, I believe a strengthened attack should be our priority.
Moreover, our mostly superior record against the other top 5 sides - and our inability to shut out games against, well, crap sides - points to this strategy being a sound one. Consider this: Had we scored 8 more goals last season, we could've turned 8 of our 9 draws into wins, leaving us with 91 points and the title. I'm pretty sure Zlatan would at the very least double Torres' meagre return of 8 goals.
With Essien supposedly not what he once was, Mikel constantly criticized and Romeu yet unproven, I would be remiss not to add a new defensive midfield option. Lars Bender. Not a cheap option, especially since outdoing his brother's reputation. But unlike Dortmund, Leverkusen would probably not be able to resist a bid of 25 million (there seem to be rumours about a buy-out clause considerably lower than that amount, which would mean this piece of business is a no-brainer).
His ability as a solid defensive midfielder is not in doubt and he would add sufficient competition to raise the hunger of the existing pool of DM's, if not walk straight into the starting line-up. One of the best tacklers in the Bundesliga, and able to play on the right of midfield, combining with Mikel he would be able to shore up our midfield against stronger opposition (such as a strengthened Man City). His 3 goals and 7 assists this season prove he would also contribute more to our attacking play than Mikel does.
With 30 million quid still in the bank, why not add another attacking option? With 3 players competing for the sole striker spot, It'd be nice having an abundance of options for the forward roles as well. Mazacar and Moses - the idea being that Oscar and de Bruyne are used in slightly deeper roles - leave room for one more signing. I'd like me a Marco Reus, but doubt he'll be available or affordable. Instead I trust Emenalo and co. and keep plundering Leverkusen, while generously bankrolling their replacement purchases of course. Andre Schürrle will be bought for 25 million. We've heard enough about him from the diligent WAGNH staff - he'd be a luxury buy, but a great addition nevertheless.
End of summer, state of soon to be 13/14 champions of England...
Torres and Marin sold for a combined total of 10 million. Zlatan purchased for 20 million. Hamsik for 35 million. Lars Bender for 25 million and Schürrle for 25 million.
That leaves 5 million spare change. Enough to purchase a back-up keeper willing to warm the bench, if Blackman and Delac are deemed unworthy. Robert Green has gotten a few mentions, so I could take him for 1 million or so. I'm sure he won't mind picking up a couple of trophies before he retires.
Martin Skrtel has intimated that he wants out of Liverpool, if anyone feels the defense needs additional personnel I'd make a sneaky 4 million pound bid testing Liverpool's resolve. Mourinho would know how best to utilize an experienced Premier League center-half like Skrtel, who might also help Slovakian compatriot Hamsik settle in England.
Substitutes from: Green, Ivanovic, Mikel, de Bruyne, Oscar, Schürrle, Lukaku // Cahill, Bertrand, Romeu, Essien, Lampard, Moses, Ba // youth players
Slightly different from what I started out with - leaving Oscar out pains me, but pragmatism must prevail. I feel this side is strong, creative and well-balanced enough to positively crush all inferior oppositon in England. I'll leave it up to Mourinho to tinker his way to victory against the Manchesters.
I wish I could give back the time you spent reading this drivel. Here's a silly poll for your troubles...