The Red Devils have been linked with the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Neymar as they seek to recapture the Premier League crown
Jose Mourinho says he already knows the two or three players he wants to sign to give Manchester United an extra push towards returning to the top of English football next season.
United broke the world transfer fee record to bring Paul Pogba back to Old Trafford last year, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly also joining for a combined outlay reported to be more than £150 million.
No further signings were made in January, although Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin were sold, but speculation has persisted that Mourinho and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward have already begun to lay the groundwork for deals beyond the end of the season.
Antoine Griezmann has been heavily tipped to join from Atletico Madrid, while a report in Spain this week has claimed that Mourinho has been in contact with Neymar to try to persuade the Barcelona star to leave Camp Nou.
Speaking ahead of the EFL Cup final on Sunday, in which Mourinho will hope to win his first major trophy since taking over as manager last May, he confirmed that he has targets in mind as he looks to add “two or three” players to the squad.
“I think with this group of players, the squad we have and the difficulties we are having during the season, I think we are more than fine,” he told Sky Sports. “I think we will be ready in July to open the door for two or three good players to help us to improve our level.
“You reach a certain level of stability, you find your way to play, your philosophy and this is very important. We are stable in the way the team plays and we need one more push.
“The next push is the next transfer window. We didn’t use it in the winter and we are obviously going to use it in the summer and trust the players we have. Like Mr Woodward was saying, we will keep a huge percentage of the players we have at this moment in the squad. We need the next push.”
Asked if he knows the players he wants to sign, Mourinho replied: “Yes”.
He continued: “If you can start the pre-season with your squad it is obviously better. I always say that the market closes on August 31 when you are already playing matches, so it is not the best moment to do it. But sometimes deals are so difficult to do that sometimes the people responsible need one more day, one more week and it goes until the end.
“I think it is the next step. Is the next step enough to win titles? Probably, we can win this season without that transfer window but I think it is a good opportunity for the next step.”
Mourinho hopes that victory over Southampton at Wembley can inspire United to challenge for more silverware this season, though he says it would mean more for the club than him.
“When we won with Chelsea we were in a fantastic position to win the Premier League, so I can say that the Carling Cup final gave us the last push of confidence to go and win the Premier League,” he said.
“This time is different. Our position in the Premier League doesn’t give us real options to win the Premier League this season, but we have a lot to play for. We have the top four, we have Europa League, we have FA Cup, a lot to play for. I would lie if I say a victory now wouldn’t push us for more, but at the same time we have to think of events separately.
“It would be important. It would be more important for the club than for me. In this moment of my career I’m not selfish, I’m not looking to me too much.
“For the club I think it’s good. [It’s] a difficult period when we don’t win the Premier League or a European competition for a few years. It would be good for the boys’ experience, especially the ones that didn’t belong to the winning period like [Michael] Carrick, [Antonio] Valencia, [Wayne] Rooney or [Ashley] Young. It would be important. It would be nice.”