Speaking to Manchester United’s own TV station following a 1-0 defeat by Bayern Munich on 5 August, Jose Mourinho said his side would face “a difficult season” unless they signed at least one more player.

At the time, United boss Mourinho was confident a new central defender would be recruited.

It did not happen. Despite late excitement over a move for Uruguay’s Diego Godin, which, it subsequently transpired, had fizzled out earlier in the week virtually as soon as it had been made, Mourinho’s squad remains as it was on 4 July when Lee Grant arrived from Stoke as United’s third-choice keeper.

Thirty-six hours before the 2018-19 Premier League was set to begin – United welcome Leicester to Old Trafford on Friday night – Mourinho was asked if he had the “tools to compete” with Manchester City and Liverpool.

“I know the words you want me to say,” he said. “I think by the end of November, December you won’t need words, you will see by then which teams are candidates to win the Premier League.”

Does that mean there is trouble ahead for Manchester United?

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