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Manchester United face new transfer window challenge

"Our transfer market in the summer will be short."

Jose Mourinho had been asked about the latest name to be linked with Manchester United , Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri, despite his refusal to ever speak about players at other clubs. Not at length at least.

But his typically curt response at Thursday's press conference revealed a lot about his summer plans following the unexpected January capture of Alexis Sanchez . That signing has spared United an unwanted saga ahead of next season after they got the marquee forward they long desired.

That has also reduced the amount of bodies Mourinho will need although he is sure to be on the lookout for Michael Carrick's heir, a young full-back and a No.10 still.

Securing those targets will be even more complicated, though, with both the World Cup and the new Premier League summer window deadline on the horizon. Short indeed.

United have until 5pm on Thursday, August 9 to sign players next summer after 14 of the 20 clubs in the top-flight voted to bring in the landmark measure last September. United were not one of them as it gives them an obvious disadvantage compared to their elite rivals across Europe.

In contrast to club chiefs, Mourinho was in favour of the new deadline. The Portuguese likes having his squad in place early on in the summer so he can get to work in training and his doomsday scenario is having to wait until the last week of August to do that final bit of business.

The Portuguese will instead have July 15 pencilled into his diary to secure his targets after penning a new contract extension with the club.

The new deal may only be for an extra year, with the option of a further season, but it confirms that:

A. Mourinho is happy in Manchester

B. He feels he can topple Pep Guardiola in the coming years.

For the first time in his career, Mourinho will head into the third season without winning a title but that is not necessarily a bad thing as he looks to avoid the dreaded third-season syndrome.

Central to his hopes of doing just that will be landing his top targets before United jet off to the US - which proved a difficult task last year.

Having handed him his wishlist in April, Mourinho set Ed Woodward an unofficial deadline of July 8 for United to have their business wrapped up as the squad returned for pre-season training.

But only Victor Lindelof had been signed by then. Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic both followed before the month was out, but the elusive fourth signing, Ivan Perisic, never materialised.

It will be even more complicated next summer - even though United's players are set to return to pre-season training a week later than they did last year because of the World Cup.

Up to 18 members of the current first-team squad could be involved in the tournament in Russia, although Alexis Sanchez, Antonio Valencia, Daley Blind and Eric Bailly are among those who will definitely not feature.

Unless they exit the tournament in the early stages, United's World Cup contingent will be on holiday by the time the rest of the squad fly out to Los Angeles in mid-July.

United are looking at a two-week window between July 16 and July 30 to return to Mourinho's favoured pre-season training base at the UCLA for the second consecutive summer.

That would give the squad another week, at least, to potentially play further friendlies in Europe before the start of the Premier League season on August 11/12, 2018.

By then, we will know how United have coped with a whole new transfer window challenge.

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