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Jose Mourinho's transfer errors at Chelsea

Tuesday 28th November 2017

Jose Mourinho is without a doubt one of the best managers in the game. Although his tactics and philosophy might not sit well with many, his trophy cabinet speaks volumes, attesting to his outstanding talent.

The Portuguese tactician rose to prominence after he led FC Porto to Champions League victory, before he gained total recognition during his time at Real Madrid where his team won La Liga with a record points haul, and then moved on to win a historic treble with Inter Milan, enjoyed major success at Chelsea and now Manchester United.

Mourinho was able to win the Europa League Cup in his debut season at the Theatre of Dreams but it remains to be seen if he will be able to guide the Red Devils to their first Premier League title since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.

Mourinho is acclaimed for his shrewdness in the transfer market and although he has always had extensive financial support from clubs he has managed, he is reputed for his good eye in the market and his ability to motivate his players to success.

The team he built at FC Porto was filled with youngsters yet to make a name for themselves in the game while at Inter Milan he invested in aging players he was able to squeeze the last ounce of talent from.

At Stamford Bridge, he bought and groomed the likes of Arjen Robben, Didier Drogba, and Nemanja Matic and at Old Trafford, his purchases are showing good potential.

However, Mourinho is not perfect, he is immune to mistakes in the transfer market just like every other manager. It is noteworthy that two players who are shining in the Premier League this season, Kevin de Bruyne and Mohamed Salah, were both sold at the early stage of their career by the Portuguese coach.

Here we take a look at four players that Jose Mourinho cashed in on too early.

Kevin de Bruyne

When Jose Mourinho took over at Stamford Bridge for his second stint, Kevin de Bruyne was a registered member of the Blues team. The Belgium International had widely been recognized as one of brightest youngsters in Europe in his homeland before he completed a £6.7 million move to West London in the summer of 2012. A few months later, he was sent out on loan to Bundesliga outfit Werder Bremen and he returned to the Blues squad just as Mourinho was appointed head coach at the Stamford Bridge.

However, the Belgian attacker failed to impress the new manager and was quickly shoved out the door by the Portuguese coach spending less than half a season with the Blues. The midfielder signed for Wolfsburg in a deal worth £18 million in the winter transfer window of 2014 and he was able to revive his career in Germany, where he was able to set a new assist record in the Bundesliga in just a season, a feat that prompted Manchester City to spend £55 million to acquire his signature just 18 months later.

Since then, De Bruyne has been in impressive form for the Manchester club and at 26 has become one of the best creative midfielders in Europe. This would leave the Blues fans wondering what could have been had Mourinho trusted the Belgian playmaker enough to retain him at the Bridge.

Mohamed Salah

Egypt International Mohamed Salah transferred to Stamford Bridge in January 2014 after gaining a reputation as a direct, pacey wide-player for Swiss club FC Basel. Chelsea bought the winger for £11 million in hopes that he would be able to propel the Blues to a Premier League title.

However, Mo Salah only made six Premier League starts in 18 months at Stamford Bridge with his hope of becoming a first-team regular being further deterred by the duo of Eden Hazard and Willian. The Egyptian was considered surplus to requirements by Mourinho, who sent him out on loan to Italian side Roma, who eventually took him on permanently.

In Italy, the Egyptian finally reignited his career and in no time became an integral part of Roma’s attacking unit as the club raised a genuine contention against Juventus for the Serie A title. His skilful display led him to Liverpool who spent £34 million to bring him to Anfield in the summer where he has registered 12 goals in 17 appearances this season.

Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku arrived at Chelsea in the summer of 2011 with lots of potentials. He rose to prominence when his pace, strength, physical dominance and eye for goal earned him regular first-team appearance despite being in his teenage years.

However, Lukaku was overlooked for most significant games during his time with the Blues and was sent out on loan to West Bromwich Albion and Everton where he displayed his full talent with strings of goals at each club. Despite this, Mourinho chose to let him join the Toffees for £28 million in the summer of 2014. Lukaku blossomed at Goodison Park and spearheaded Everton’s attack, averaging a goal every other game, which eventually made Manchester United, now ironically managed by Mourinho, spend £75 million to add him to their ranks.

If only Mourinho had been calm enough to see the good in Lukaku back in 2014 – the Portuguese maestro had a ready-made striker on his hands that had proved his worth in the Premier League during his time out on loan and yet chose to sell him. On reflection, Mourinho sold what he would later rely heavily on.

Ryan Bertrand

Chelsea is not a club known for promoting their academy players to the first team and, like many starlets before him, Ryan Bertrand found his effort to enter Jose Mourinho’s team frustrated by more prestigious names. The left-back was considered by many to be following the footsteps of Ashley Cole but nothing came from his Stamford Bridge career.

Bertrand had to endure nine loan spells in eight years and featured in less than thirty games for the Blues in almost a decade of being tied to the club. Mourinho decided to sell the defender to Southampton for £10 million in the summer of 2015 and he has since grown to become one of the best full-backs in the league and also got a call-up to England national squad.

Adebayo Temitope

Temitope, an ardent soccer fan. I may be based in Lagos but I watch as much European football as I can. I've been writing about football for several years, before I joined IRIAW you may have seen my work on The Football Weeks. I'm also a keen music fan


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