PHOTO: United stars show Madrid fans what could have been

Manchester United will be laughing after what can only be deemed as a successful summer in the transfer market.

Many will point to the arrivals of Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan as evidence but there are two stars that call Old Trafford home that signal somewhat of a return to the big time for a team that isn’t even in the Champions League.

Man United have spent the post Sir Alex years in the wilderness, let’s be clear about this. For the money spent and performances put on it’s been dire but that could be put down to who has been in charge with David Moyes out of his depth and Louis Van Gaal out of touch.

But now with Jose Mourinho at the helm things are finally looking like getting back to normal with Manchester United acting like the big club they are.

This first started with a transfer or should I say one that didn’t happen as David De Gea, who many assumed would move to Real Madrid this summer after the Spanish side came so close to signing him last summer, opted to stay at Old Trafford and work with Jose Mourinho.

Keeping hold of the best goalkeeper in the world sent a message, even if it was a small one but it seemed that the club were saving the best for last.

Years ago, Ed Woodward claimed that United could do things in the transfer market that other sides couldn’t but when pretty much nothing happened people laughed. This summer though, the joke was on them as United broke the world transfer record to sign Paul Pogba back from Juventus.

A huge sign of intent made even bigger by the manner in which it was done as United took one of the best midfielders in the world away from the reigning Serie A champions, and without Champions League football too.

To make the matter even better, they beat Real Madrid, the reigning Champions League winners to his signature.

The move sent shockwaves through football, under Jose Mourinho, Manchester United were back but these shockwaves were felt in Madrid especially as Manchester United had twice got one over on their European rivals.

And as United’s player welcomed Paul Pogba back to Old Trafford, this image represents the success of United’s transfer window as well as the failures of Real Madrid’s:

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