After days of beavering, a small army of diploma-dripping lawyers have navigated a path through a maze of legal loopholes and Jose Mourinho has been confirmed as the new Manchester United manager.
Reports suggest the Portuguese trophy magnet will cop a whopping £15m-a-year for the privilege, while he’ll also have access to the Red Devils’ bottomless transfer war chest.
Historically, Mourinho has never been shy when the opportunity to dip into someone else’s wallet has arisen and in recent campaigns the United moneymen have adopted the kind of cash carelessness most coaches can only dream of.
This potent concoction of a willing spender and obliging owners promises plenty of transfer activity at Old Trafford as soon as new belongings begin to fill Louis van Gaal’s recently-emptied office.
Having missed out on a top-four finish and the Champions League football that accompanies, any prospective United acquisition of world-class standard will likely demand additional fiscal compensation to take a sabbatical from Europe’s elite competition.
It’s safe to assume that, in order to renovate the Red Devils to the extent that they can compete for the game’s top prizes once more, such players will have to pursued, which in turn indicates a record sum will be splurged by the Premier League’s most decorated club.
Last summer saw £109.5m forked out, an extortionate figure that still fell short of the £146.5m sheeted 12 months prior.
With Van Gaal placing so much faith in youngsters – a footballing philosophy that, all evidence would suggest, makes Mourinho nauseous – proven top-level practitioners are whom the Portuguese will pursue.
Factoring in the financial injection from the BT/Sky Sports-subsidised TV deal due to come into effect imminently – which will only drive up the price of any potential players English outfits try to buy – it’s entirely conceivable that a Mourinho-managed United could outspend both previous summers combined.
Since he assumed control at Stamford Bridge for the first time in 2004, the former Chelsea boss’ maiden pre-season in charge of any team has resulted in an average spend of £68.9m on new players.
His initial stint in west London was also his most prolific in terms of cheques signed, with a staggering £91.45m being drained from Roman Abramovich’s bank balance.
Bearing in mind this was over 12 years ago – inflation and other extrapolating factors would guarantee that this near-£100m outlay was significantly higher were it spent in the present day.
Such extravagant money-spinning was deemed essential in order to sufficiently strengthen the Blues so they could crash the United-Arsenal duopoly that had dominated English football for the previous decade.
With the modern-day Red Devils way off the pace being set by the silverware-seeking sides at home and abroad, it’ll take a shopping spree of similar magnitude to restore parity.
It’s also important to note how Mourinho’s second-highest spend upon arrival came in 2010 after taking the reins at Real Madrid. Here he oversaw £87.4m’s worth of arrivals, mainly on Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira and Angel Di Maria – all stars of the World Cup that took place that same summer.
The 53-year-old arrives at the Theatre of Dreams six years on with not one, but two major international competitions (Euro 2016 and the Copa America) drawing to a close.
Hype generated in such tournaments ensures players’ values rise and with the superstars who will do the business against these backdrops the type of assets Mourinho will chase, expect United to cross the £200m threshold on new signings this term.
A price of 11/2 makes them second favourite to win the 2016/17 Premier League.