Manchester United are stuck in a rut ahead of the new Premier League season with Mourinho and Woodward at loggerheads.
The Red Devils boss wants more. Not content with shelling out £350million over the last two years, Mourinho feels his squad is to rival the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham for domestic honours.
Mourinho has made signing a top centre-back his priority. For all the links to Harry Maguire, the 55-year-old’s dream signing is Toby Alderweireld.
Now two weeks on from Belgium’s third-place play-off win over England, it is safe to say Woodward has failed him.
A stellar international tournament often means big clubs having to fork out more than they normally would. United spent £30million on Rio Ferdinand in 2002. Real Madrid broke the bank by signing James Rodriguez for £60m in 2014. Chelsea paid £50m for a crocked Fernando Torres in 2011, months after he had propelled Spain to the promise land.
Alderweireld has, all summer, been there for the taking. Tottenham want £50m because they know that, in 12 months time, they may be forced to lose him for half of that.
The player impressing for Belgium, however, has complicated United’s interest. Spurs are tough negotiators – and have been ever since 2008, when the Red Devils poached Dimitar Berbatov in controversial circumstances.
As a result, United have been linked with Maguire. For all the claims that he wants to join, both the player and his representatives have made no comment so far on wanting to leave Leicester.
Mourinho was aware Alderweireld would be difficult to sign after the World Cup. And so he told Woodward.
But those words, it seems, have fallen on deaf ears. And United now face another season of Premier League turbulence.
Alderweireld is a deal that could go the distance and reports have claimed United are still confident of doing a deal. Mourinho, judging by his frustrated body language, thinks differently.
And only time will tell if Woodward has failed his manager. If they get their man, all is well.
If they don’t? Then do not expect Mourinho to return to his cheery self anytime soon.