Manchester United's summer transfer window has already started better than last year's did.
Erik ten Hag was already firmly in the hot seat before the dreary season had even concluded but United were slow to act in the market. A new signing wasn't made during the entirety of June before a reserve left-back in the form of Tyrell Malacia finally arrived. Not really the singing to get the excitement building. Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez were then recruited but came so late that they didn't even make the pre-season tour.
United started the new campaign with only three new signings to improve upon their worst-ever Premier League campaign. The window was tilting towards disaster when the season began with humiliating defeats to Brighton and Brentford. Thankfully, those losses stirred the club into action and the further additions of Antony and especially Casemiro would dramatically improve the side.
Also read: Mount agrees personal terms with United
In stark contrast, United have already made moves to put their plans for what will be a crucial summer into action. Ten Hag has made great progress with the club over the last 12 months but if they are to move to the next level and mount - wink, wink - a genuine title challenge then some serious improvements are required.
A striker is the biggest priority and Ten Hag has already held talks with Atalanta starlet Rasmus Hojlund with United assuming Tottenham will be unwilling to sell Harry Kane and the club has agreed personal terms with Mason Mount to bolster their midfield ranks.
MEN Sport understands United have held advanced discussions with Mount's representatives with the Chelsea midfielder keen to leave Stamford Bridge ahead of his contract expiring next summer, though a fee is yet to be agreed with the London club. Despite the class Eriksen and Casemiro have brought to United's midfield this season, Ten Hag is keen to add more and, crucially, younger talent to it.
The dream signings of Jude Bellingham or Frenkie de Jong were always going to be tough to pull off but Mount, a Champions League winner and key England international, is certainly a quality alternative. The alarming drop in quality whenever Eriksen or Casemiro have been unavailable this year has laid United's lack of depth bare and another quality signing is a must.
Mount has endured a difficult 18 months as a chaotic Chelsea have gone through managers like Sir Alex Ferguson goes through chewing gum but his obvious technical proficiency would make him an ideal fit in a Ten Hag side. He is still young despite all his experience at just 24 and is also a very tactically intelligent player, so much so that he has been loved by several managers who have tended to keep him as a constant starter in their sides despite criticism from those on the outside looking in.
While not quite as good a passer as De Jong or Bellingham, Mount would bring a lot of skill, energy and astuteness to the middle, equally able to link the midfield with the attacking line while also reducing the burden on Bruno Fernandes to create. If a reasonable deal can be struck for a player with only 12 months left on his deal and Ten Hag can help him rediscover his best form, Mount would be an excellent first step in closing the gap to Manchester City.
But he can't be the only midfield addition.
As has been made abundantly clear during a gruelling campaign, injuries and suspensions hit hard and you can soon be down to the bare bones. Given United should also be looking to move on at least one if not two of the underwhelming Donny van de Beek, Fred or Scott McTominay this summer, they will need to bring in another player who can add depth and bring up the quality level.
With Mount and Eriksen vying for the more creative role in the double pivot, a dependable and solid defensive midfielder to compete with Casemiro - and take his place when he is inevitably suspended - should be brought in. It doesn't need to be a player of the level of a Declan Rice given the potential signing of Mount, it's unlikely this player would be a guaranteed starter and those funds will be needed elsewhere.
But instead, an experienced Premier League option - perhaps Wilfred Ndidi - would add that bit of extra steel, strength and passing proficiency United could do with. With Marco Silva monitoring Fred, United would do well to offer a cheeky deal to swap him with Joao Palhinha.
United have made a promising start to the summer but there's plenty of work to do yet.