It’s Jose Mourinho’s second season in charge, Manchester United have returned to the Champions League, and elite players are linked with moves to Old Trafford in the summer transfer window. But bookies are still favouring Chelsea and local rivals Manchester City ahead of the Red Devils for glory next term. With a number of positive factors now in place, shouldn’t Mourinho’s men be considered favourites?

United can be backed at around 7/2 to win the Premier League in the preseason football betting, but are well placed to punish the doubters next season. Fans should be getting excited about the prospect of how far they will go. Although Mourinho only managed to achieve a sixth-place finish in his first season at the helm in Manchester, he did bring some glory back to the club in the form of two trophies – the League Cup and the Europa League trophy. After a few miserable seasons since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, fans finally had something to cheer about.

History also suggests that Mourinho will make massive improvements on that first season next term. At Porto and Inter Milan, the Portuguese won the Champions League in his second season as boss, and at Real Madrid he pipped Guardiola’s Barcelona to the La Liga title after taking one campaign to settle in. When the Special One returned to Chelsea in 2013, his Blues side finished third, but followed it up the next year with an emphatic title win. Could something similar be on the cards at United?

The pulling power that United still have was evident last summer when they managed to acquire the services of Paul Pogba, who became the most expensive footballer of all time. The club also captured Zlatan Ibrahimović, one of the best strikers in Europe. This was without even being able to offer Champions League football. Now that United are back rubbing shoulders with the European elite next term, they should be able to attract some of the best players in the world to Old Trafford. The prospect of playing for a club with such a rich history, with one of the world’s best managers, will be too enticing an opportunity for some to turn down.

This is why United have already been linked with Antione Griezmann and James Rodriguez. Mourinho is likely to offload some dead weight in the transfer market and enhance his squad with top quality players from the continent. The Special One is a long-term admirer of Griezmann, and the Frenchman has recently stated that he wants to leave Atletico Madrid in search of silverware. Rodriguez has struggled for starts under Zinedine Zidane, and has expressed a keen interest in joining United this summer.

With millions to spend in the transfer market, a serious restructuring is on the cards for United before next season. Now that Mourinho is settled and has had a chance to get to know the tools at his disposal, the Old Trafford outfit could be in line for their best campaign since Ferguson left. Even though the bookies aren’t backing them, United fans know that Mourinho’s men have the best chance of winning the league next season.