Manchester United handed tricky Europa League group stage draw

Manchester United were handed a tricky draw for the group stages of the UEFA Europa League, as Jose Mourinho's side face trips to both Ukraine and Turkey.

The Red Devils were drawn against Fenerbahce, Dutch side Feyenoord and Ukrainians Zorya Luhansk.

It means Robin van Persie is set for a return to Old Trafford and also his first senior club from the Netherlands.

The group stages begin on 15 September.

United first name out   

In the same competition Mourinho won in its former guise of the UEFA Cup back in 2003 with former club FC Porto, the Portuguese will be looking to juggle both domestic and European campaigns. 

Dragões went on to win the Champions League the following season - with Mourinho going on to knock out his current employers during their run to the final, including his famous race along the touchline in celebration at Old Trafford. 

During the draw, United were the first name drawn and went immediately into Group A. From Pot two they were joined by Turkish runners-up Fenerbahce. 

After The Yellow Canaries were beaten in the Champions League play-off second round by Monaco earlier this month, they were left to settle with a spot in the Europa League. 

With Dick Advocaat appointed as head coach just nine days ago, Fenerbahce are in somewhat of a transitional period.

Nevertheless with a squad that boasts Nigerian powerhouse and former West Ham United forward Emmanuel Emenike, former Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel, pacy right-back Gregory van der Wiel and of course Robin van Persie, the Turkish outfit have more than able operators.

Van Persie set for double reunion   

For the Dutch striker, the draw is a hugely romantic one. Not only will the 33 year-old return to Manchester, but also his club as a youth player, Feyenoord. 

van Persie's performances for Feyenoord as a youngster caught the eye of Arsene Wenger (photo:getty)
van Persie's performances for Feyenoord as a youngster caught the eye of Arsene Wenger (photo:getty)

Van Persie scored 15 goals for the Dutch side between 2001 and 2004, which was the platform for his move to Arsenal.   

Similarly to Fener, United will also face former Liverpool duo Brad Jones and Dirk Kuyt - now captain of the club where he made his name between 2003 and 2006.

The other opponent in Group A will be a trip to the unknown with Ukrainian newcomers Zorya Luhansk. A club that has just celebrated its 50th year since formation, the Ukrainian side finished fourth in last term's Ukrainian Premier League.

With Luhansk playing their games in the east of the country and with a trip to Turkey also, Jose Mourinho's men will be sure to clock up the air miles as they look to reach the last 32.  

This season's Europa League final will be played at The Friends Arena in Stockholm on 24 May 2017.