The Portuguese coach has made it clear that he still requires two more signings to complete his squad, presumed to be a defensive midfielder and a winger.
But negotiations have proved difficult: Tottenham are adamant that Dier will not be sold, Chelsea are ready to add a so-called ‘Lukaku tax’ to any deal for Matic and Inter are playing hard ball over Ivan Perisic.
Mourinho admits the transfer market has become very difficult to operate in and is already braced not to make another signing this summer – but hopes Ed Woodward can still pull something out of the bag.
Asked about the progress of deals for Matic and Dier at his pre-match press conference ahead of facing Real Madrid, Mourinho said: ‘Names is difficult for me.
‘As you know the players belong to clubs, the players are in pre-season, the managers and owners are not happy if you speak about them. The same as me.
‘If I am here now and somebody is saying, “I would like to buy a player from Manchester United” or, “I am in conversations with a big player from Manchester United”. I would ask, “Hey! I am here, and the club is here, so be careful with what you say”. So I say nothing.
‘I keep saying just the same because I never hide my plan for the team, for the evolution of the team, in this second transfer window for me – because the transfer window of last December [sic] we didn’t use that, so this is my second transfer window.
‘I told that my plan was to get four players to give balance to the team in all the different areas, to make a better squad.
‘But with the development of the market, I was getting the feedbacks from Mr Woodward, I was analysing myself from distance – because I never got involved – but from distance it’s easy to feel that, I repeat the same, the market is very difficult.
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‘So if the club has no chance to give me the four players, then so be it. I like my group, I like my players, and I go with them. But I still have the hope that I can have some player – who knows the fourth, but at least the third.’
United moved quickly to secure a deal for Victor Lindelof from Benfica before hijacking Chelsea’s deal for Romelu Lukaku, though Mourinho would still like to add two new faces.