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Opinion: Manchester United and Manchester City making early statements of intent

It’s been less than a fortnight since Jose Mourinho was announced as Manchester United’s new manager, but both he and old foe Pep Guardiola have been busy.

The Portuguese tactician was confirmed as Louis van Gaal’s successor at the end of last month, while Guardiola had already revealed during the campaign last season that he would replace Manuel Pellegrini this summer.

Neither man has wasted time in making their impact though, with City said to be in talks to sign Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as reported by Sky Sports, while Eric Bailly has passed a medical ahead of a move to United.

Both players will cost over £30m apiece, with Aubameyang naturally commanding a much higher fee, and despite their differing current standing in European football, both will be seen as important pieces for their prospective managers.

It’s difficult to say who has the tougher job on their hands this summer and next season, as Mourinho has to add players to his squad to inspire some belief, desire and flair back into the United side to take them back to the top of English football.

Meanwhile, this is arguably Guardiola’s toughest test to date, as although he’ll have plenty of money to throw at City’s problems, he hasn’t been forced to pick up the pieces at a side that have fallen so far below expectations without world-class collective talent at his disposal in a league that ultimately one of two teams can win.

In turn, he’ll have to spend wisely, and signing a player who scored 39 goals in 49 appearances in all competitions last season certainly ticks that box, along with his former teammate Ilkay Gundogan who has already joined from Dortmund.

Both Manchester clubs suffered disappointment last season, albeit more so United given their inability to qualify for the Champions League.

With defending champions Leicester City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool all looking to push on and compete for the Premier League title next season, it was imperative that United and City both made big changes, and that process has undoubtedly started.

Aubameyang and Bailly won’t be the last arrivals and City and United respectively, provided that they do complete moves, as Mourinho and Guardiola, along with the likes of Jurgen Klopp, Antonio Conte and Arsene Wenger draw their battle lines in the summer transfer market first before going to war in the Premier League next season.

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