For better or worse, Jose Mourinho continues to have a lasting impact at Manchester United.
It’s three years ago that the charismatic Portuguese was sacked from the Old Trafford helm and – whether you love him or loathe him – he remains the last manager to bring silverware home.
That double Carabao Cup and Europa League glory in 2017 proved not to be the catalyst for bigger trophies, though, as Mourinho was instead handed his P45 in December 2018 as United embarked upon a cultural reboot.
A dark cloud, it was said, had been lifted. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brought hope, dreams and a positive outlook.
He did not, though, bring silverware. Ralf Rangnick is the next man to try and guide United through stormy waters and it’s so far, so good in that respect.
One game (and victory) in and the innovative German coach has already hinted about what might follow, yet there are some conundrums to solve. Crucially, though, he might not even be the man to solve them.
Having finished as runners-up to Manchester City last season, the Old Trafford boardroom issued a triple statement of intent during the summer by signing Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo – although they did miss out on a top-level defensive midfielder.
With his trademark 4-2-2-2 formation, Rangnick has attempted to address that in-house.
England midfielder Declan Rice is still target number one in these parts amid some concerns that West Ham might dig their heels in over a valuation for the player. Before launching that would-be pursuit, though, clarification on his long-term mentor might be required.
Scott McTominay and Fred – often criticised under Solskjaer – have been given a new lease of life by Rangnick on the back of subtle tweaks made by the departed Michael Carrick.
That’s one issue taken care of, in the short-term at least.
Bombarding full-backs are en vogue across the Premier League and, while Luke Shaw and Alex Telles offer competitive options on one side, United – or, more specifically, Aaron Wan-Bissaka – have been left behind by Reece James, Trent Alexander-Arnold and other trend-setters on the right.
For all he gives United defensively, Wan-Bissaka’s attacking output simply does not compare.
United know it; hence moves to welcome Kieran Trippier back to the UK this summer. That fell by the wayside as Atletico Madrid refused to budge on price. A common theme, you might argue.
It’s an area of the pitch which has cost the Old Trafford hierarchy around £70million since 2018.
That is when Mourinho approached Porto and returned with Diogo Dalot for £19million. Only 12 months later, they splashed out £49.5million more on Wan-Bissaka. But did they get it right first time around?
Having struggled to command a regular spot throughout his time here, Portugal international Dalot shone against Arsenal and Crystal Palace and supporters are calling on him to be given an extended run in the team by Rangnick.
That suggestion gains further gravitas by the need for full-backs to push on in this new-found narrow system.
Dalot may or may not prove to be the long-term answer but has certainly earned the right to stake a claim for the foreseeable. At the risk of proving Mourinho right, once again, Rangnick must grant fans that wish and, in turn, could ultimately solve his pre-existing £68.5million dilemma.