Manchester United know they're making a pact with the devil – but just what will success cost?

Confirmation of Jose Mourinho's appointment as Manchester United manager may come with a promise of the success demanded, but it also effectively embraces many of the negatives that they wished to avoid three years ago. It’s also a demonstration of their desperation following three seasons of decline, first under David Moyes and then Louis van Gaal.

When Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, Mourinho may in many ways have been his most suitable successor. Even amid their understandable desire for another long-term appointment, the Portuguese's strength of character was sufficient for him to resist the weight of Ferguson's and Sir Matt Busby's collective history, one of the few capable of succeeding as the manager who came next.

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