Manchester United 2016/17 transfer review: Mourinho's recruits shine in trophy-filled campaign

A look at Manchester United's transfer dealings in the 2016/17 season.

Manchester United 2016/17 transfer review: Mourinho's recruits shine in trophy-filled campaign
Above: Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimović and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the 4-0 win over Feyenoord | Photo: Getty Images/James Baylis - AMA

It is expected to be another busy summer for José Mourinho and for his Manchester United, as he looks to add recruits to build upon his mini-treble and bring the Premier League title back to Old Trafford for the first time since 2013.

Mourinho is known as a man not afraid to dip into his pockets and that was no different last summer having just signed for the Red Devils, forking out an eye watering total of £157.2million on four key players.

The four have been given time to bed in and proven to have both low and high points throughout United’s season, it is time now to look back at Manchester United’s 2016/17 signings and their overall performance throughout the campaign.

 

Paul Pogba

Pogba had been showing what United missed out on in the last few years, with the midfielder emerging as one of the game’s brightest and marketable young talents throughout his time with Juventus.

The Red Devils were made to pay through the nose for their error of judgment, as they broke the world record with their £89m fee to bring the Frenchman back to the Theatre of Dreams. The pressure on his shoulders was present from the off which is expected with such an astronomical fee, but showed his talents on his debut in the 2-0 against Southampton with his passing and movement reminiscent of the Paul Scholes era.

He had a strong showing throughout the season, but the fee that was paid blinded the majority of critics which saw most of his hard work fly under the radar. There is no doubt that Pogba has had some weak points especially in big games where he would more than likely go missing, which was exemplified in the draw with Liverpool as he performance failed to live up to the hype that his Twitter emoji launch had built.

He did finish the season off well as he put United ahead in Stockholm in the win over Ajax, overall his contribution of nine goals and five assists in all competitions I think is more than enough to count his season as a successful. Many forget that Pogba is still only 23 and though he shows talent beyond his years he is still developing, and I think that this season will prove to a good building block to develop and certify himself as one of the brightest talents on the planet.

 

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Many United fans drooled at the prospect of bringing Mkhitaryan into the side, and at £30million for a man who had scored 18 goals for Borussia Dortmund the previous season it seemed too good to be true.

It almost looked to be heading that way with Mkhitryan’s start to life at Old Trafford proving very difficult, and his career with the Red Devils looked over before it had begun with the Armenian seemingly out of favour with Mourinho.

Mkhitaryan made his first Premier League start in the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City, but the 28-year-old was substituted at half-time and wouldn’t be seen again until the end of November despite being fit for most of that time despite a minor niggle picked up on international duty.

The tide turned from there on out with his position in the side sealed with his excellent scorpion kick against Sunderland, from there on out the winger became a crucial part in Mourinho’s side but it was in the Europa League where he shone brightest.

The Armenian led the way as he led the goalscoring charts with six goals which included goals in all knockout stages bar the semi-final with Celta Vigo, but finished off United's season in style as he scored their final goal in the Friends Arena

Mkhitaryan's consistency did waver towards the end of the campaign, but fans can only get excited by the prospect of what the winger can bring with a full season of games under his belt.  

 

Zlatan Ibrahimović

United started the summer with the big guns, as they managed to secure one of the biggest, famous and prolific strikers on the continent with the arrival of Zlatan on a free transfer. 

Like any signings coming to these shores there were some sceptics surrounding the Swede's grand old age of 35, but he silenced those doubters early on with the winner against Leicester City in the Community Shield. There was a slight slump towards the start where the striker was failing to hit the target but would go on to have an excellent campaign for the Red Devils. 

It will be argued that Ibra was the signing of the summer in terms of his contribution as his 28 goals proved more than crucial in the successes of United's campaign. Two of those 28 goals came in yet another final, as he managed to secure the EFL Cup with his late header in the 3-2 win over Southampton. 

It could have been so much more but Ibrahimović's season was ended against Celta Vigo, his serious knee injury could see him out until 2018. With his contract set to run out it will be unknown if he will be a United player come next season, but the memories and performances will be more than enough for fans if he were to move on. 

 

Eric Bailly

It has been fair to say that United's defence hasn't been their strongest point for some time, with fans longing for the days of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidić. However Mourinho seemed to make an excellent choice with his first signing of the summer with Eric Bailly, with the coach putting his trust into the Ivorian early on starting the majority of the club's pre-season games. 

The central defender didn't take long to adapt to the English top-flight as he had the pace and strength to deal with the country's best attackers, but did have some injury setbacks throughout the campaign but returned like he had never been missing. 

With the injuries to Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling late into the campaign saw Bailly playing 90 minutes for the majority of games, but end his season on a bum note as he got sent off in the Europa League semi-final with Celta Vigo. 

Overall the defender has had an excellent season for Mourinho's men, and the coach will look to the Ivorian next season to lead his defensive line in their pursuit of the Premier League title. 

Manchester United FC