Jose Mourinho’s arrival at Manchester United sparked as many guesses over who would be leaving Old Trafford as it did excitement.
The transfer business the Portuguese has overseen at his new club showed little confidence in a host of seemingly unwanted stars. But rather than embark on a firesale that guts his squad, the former Chelsea boss has been pouring water over numerous exit suggestions.
Piece-by-piece Mourinho is surprising us with his assessment of those “doomed” United stars:
The world-record buy-back of Paul Pogba was announced on the same day that the Belgian midfielder gifted Jamie Vardy a Community Shield equaliser at Wembley.
That was seen as the last act in a maligned Old Trafford stay for the former Everton star. But after getting a second chance against Bournemouth on the opening weekend of the Premier League season, Fellaini appears to be impressing his new boss.
“With Fellaini I always have the feeling that he was not loved by the general Red people,” Mourinho told MUTV after the Cherries win.
“But, if he plays like he’s playing now, they have to love him because he’s being so important for us.”
Having been sold to United by his then-Chelsea boss back in 2014, Mata was the favourite to be first out of the door once Mourinho rocked up in Manchester.
In the Community Shield, the scheming tactician substituted the Spaniard just 26 minutes after introducing him off the bench. It was seen as a not-so-subtle hint that the midfielder’s days were numbered.
Since then, Mata has been picked to start in the trip to Bournemouth, scored the opening goal of the game and coaxed some words of encouragement out of his hard-to-impress boss:
— Premier League (@premierleague) August 14, 2016
Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling were touted as United’s central-defensive partnership of the future when the 22-year-old former Villarreal defender became Mourinho’s first purchase.
However, Smalling’s unavailability at the start of the season has allowed Blind to play himself into the two-time-Champions-League winner’s good books.
As a result the Dutchman appears set to stay and compete for a starting spot, putting Argentine Marcos Rojo on the bubble instead.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.