LONDON (Reuters) - Jose Mourinho added a new word to his vocabulary this week and, once he learnt what it meant, agreed with Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward that there would be no great transfer “churn” in the close season.
United spent around 137 million pounds ($170.77 million) net as Mourinho arrived before the current campaign on players like world record signing Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly.
The Portuguese coach said a repeat would be unnecessary now the club appears to be stabilising again and the focus this year would be on developing the potential in the current squad, rather than making wholesale changes.
“We know that we have a squad that like every squad needs changes, but we know also that our squad has potential, has good players, many of them in the best age, the age of evolution,” Mourinho told a news conference.
”We prefer to bring two three or four players, players that can improve our squad. We are not interested in signing six or seven or selling six or seven.
“We are stable, so we think our market in the summer will be soft, will be natural. Some players to leave, some players to come but in a very natural way so I think the word Ed used was a good one.”
Woodward used “churn” on Thursday to describe the transfer comings and goings the club have gone through in the past two years, although the term initially confused his manager.
“I had to ask a friend about the word,” Mourinho said ahead of Saturday’s home game with Watford.
United, with free transfer Zlatan Ibrahimovic playing a prominent role, have settled down without managing to climb higher than sixth place in the table.
Unbeaten in 15 league games, however, they have closed to within one point of fifth-placed Liverpool and two of Arsenal.
Ibrahimovic scored his 20th goal in the last game, a 3-0 win away to champions Leicester City and Mourinho believes the 35-year-old Swede will stay for at least another season.
“I’m totally convinced he is going to stay,” he said.
”He came with the intention to stay two years but the first year is going better than every expectation.
”He knows we are going to try again to improve next season and try to share with him in a fantastic way probably the last year of his career at the highest level.
“He’s adapted to the club, to the situation, I don’t see any problem with his family.”
($1 = 0.8027 pounds)
Reporting by Steve Tongue; Editing by Toby Davis