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Four players that Jose Mourinho sold too soon …

Martyn Cooke



jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho is undoubtedly one of the best football managers of his generation, if not of all time, and, although his methods and philosophy can often split opinion, the vast array of titles and trophies that he has won across Europe attests to his talent.

The Portuguese maestro rose to fame in Portugal with FC Porto, leading the club to Champions League glory, before stints in Spain, where his Real Madrid team won La Liga with a record points haul, Italy, where he secured a historic treble with Inter Milan, and in England with Chelsea and now Manchester United.

Mourinho was able to secure domestic and European cup successes in his debut season with Old Trafford but it remains to be seen whether he will be able to inspire the club to a first Premier League title since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.

Mourinho is renowned for his acumen in the transfer market and, although critics will always point to the extensive financial support he has received from clubs during his managerial career, he has a reputation of purchasing players and maximising their productivity and potential.

The FC Porto team that he built was a youthful group of unknown players whilst at Inter Milan he purchased aging players that he felt able to squeeze a last once of talent out of.

At Chelsea, he purchased and developed the likes of Arjen Robben, Didier Drogba and Nemanja Matic and at Old Trafford his initial purchase look to have the potential to make a definitive impact.

However, as with any football manager, Mourinho is no immune to making errors in the transfer market. It is significant that two of the Premier League’s outstanding performers so far this campaign, Kevin de Bruyne and Mohamed Salah, were both prematurely sold earlier in their careers by the Portuguese coach.

Here, The Boot Room looks at four players that Jose Mourinho sold too soon.

Kevin de Bruyne – Chelsea

When Jose Mourinho returned to Stamford Bridge for his second spell in charge of Chelsea Kevin de Bruyne was already on the club’s books. The Belgium midfielder had emerged as one of Europe’s brightest young stars in his native homeland with Genk prior to a £6.7 million move to West London in the summer of 2012. He was immediately loaned out to Bundesliga side Werder Bremen and his return to Stamford Bridge the following summer coincided with the arrival of Mourinho.

However, de Bruyne failed to cement a regular starting role in Mourinho’s new-look team and was sold by the Portuguese coach after less than half a season. Wolfsburg bought the midfielder in January 2014 for £18 million and he was able to reignite his career in Germany, where he set a new Bundesliga record for assists in a season, eventually leading to Manchester City splashing £55 million to secure his services just eighteen months later.

De Bruyne has flourished at the Etihad Stadium and has blossomed into one of the best creative midfielder players in Europe and, at just 26 years of age, his career has barely begun. However, that will lead to Chelsea supporters wondering what could have been had Mourinho given the Belgian playmaker more time to develop at Stamford Bridge prior to showing him the exit.

Mohamed Salah – Chelsea

Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah arrived at Stamford Bridge in January 2014 after forging a reputation as a direct, pacey wide-player in Switzerland with FC Basel. Chelsea paid £11 million to secure his signature and there were genuine hopes that he would inject some additional impetus and energy into The Blues’ title charge.

However, Salah would make just six Premier League starts in eighteen months at Stamford Bridge with his route into the starting eleven blocked by the flourishing duo of Eden Hazard and Willian. The Egyptian was eventually deemed surplus to requirements by Mourinho who shipped him out on loan to Roma, who would eventually turn the move into a permanent transfer.

It was in Italy that Salah rediscovered his previous form and he became a key component of Roma’s attacking unit as the club attempted to close the gap between themselves and Juventus at the top of Serie A. His performances led to Liverpool investing £34 million to bring him to Anfield in the summer where he has started the season with 12 goals in 17 appearances.

Romelu Lukaku – Chelsea

When Chelsea signed Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku in the summer of 2011 they were purchasing one of the hottest young prospects in European football. He had risen to prominence with Anderlecht where his pace, power, physicality and eye for goal allowed him to become a first team regular despite only being in his teenage years.

However, Lukaku was never handed any significant game time during his spell with Stamford Bridge and was shipped out on loan to West Bromwich Albion and Everton where he demonstrated his ability with a deluge of goals at each club. This failed to impress Mourinho who opted to sell the striker to The Toffees for £28 million in the summer of 2014. Lukaku flourished at Goodison Park and became the key figure in Everton’s attack, averaging a goal every other game, which eventually led to Manchester United, now managed ironically by Mourinho, spending an initial £75 million to secure his services.

If only Mourinho had rated Lukaku so highly back in 2014 – the Portuguese maestro had a ready-made striker on his hands that had proven capable of scoring in the Premier League during his time out on loan and yet he chose to sell him. On reflection, Chelsea sold what would become one of Europe’s best strikers.

Ryan Bertrand – Chelsea

Chelsea are not a club that is renowned for progressing talented youngsters through their extensive academy system and into the first team and, like many starlets before him, Ryan Bertrand found his route into Jose Mourinho’s team blocked by more prestigious names. The left back was considered by many onlookers to have the potential to be the next Ashley Cole but his career at Stamford Bridge never really got off the ground.

Bertrand was shipped out on loan nine times during eight years and made less than thirty appearances for the The Blues in almost a decade of being contracted with the club. It was Mourinho that elected to sell the defender to Southampton for £10 million in the summer of 2015 and he has since blossomed on the South coast into one of the best fullbacks in the Premier League and also cementing a place in the England squad.

Mourinho may have been left wondering why he did not provide Bertrand with more playing opportunities at Stamford Bridge and the decision to sell the defender is even more peculiar considering that Chelsea spent a significant sum on his replacement, Baba Rahman. The Ghanaian never truly looked like a player capable of performing at an elite club and he was swiftly moved on after just one season, whilst Bertrand continued to flourish with The Saints.

Martyn is currently a PTA and Research Assistant in the Department of Exercise Science at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). In addition to his teaching role he is also undertaking a PhD in Sports History that is exploring the origins and development of football in Staffordshire. Prior to working at MMU, Martyn spent a decade operating in the sport and leisure industry in a variety of roles including as a Sports Development Officers, PE Teacher, Football Coach and Operation Manager.


Three reasons why Kenedy can become Newcastle’s talisman next season

The 22-year-old made an instant impact when he joined on loan last season.

Liam Thomas



Photo: Getty Images

Newcastle United managed to acquire Kenedy’s services for another season, after bringing the silky winger in on loan last January from Chelsea.

During his time at St. James’ Park last season, the Brazilian showed glimpses of the genius that saw Chelsea bring him into their ranks from Brazilian powerhouse Fluminense and he will, in no doubt, be an extremely effective weapon for Rafael Benitez to have at his disposal next season.

But can the 22-year-old take it up a notch and become Newcastle’s star man in the 2018/19 Premier League season?

A brilliant manager to learn from

Kenedy will again have to chance to play under Spanish tactician Rafael Benitez, a manager who’s done and won it all.

Benitez seemed to get the best out of Kenedy last season for the Magpies, and the young Brazilian won’t find many other managers around who are invested in getting the very best out of their young talents.

He had a huge impact playing just half the season for Newcastle

When Kenedy arrived on Tyneside in January, Benitez’ team were struggling, and in a rut of bad form, the Brazilian played his part in turning the clubs fortunes around and helped his new side to a top half finish.

It is a mouthwatering prospect to think for Newcastle fans what Kenedy will achieve with the club given a full season with them, and now he has fully settled into life in the city, he may be able to make an even bigger impact next season.

Young, ambitious and highly rated

At 22 years of age, Kenedy is poised to have the best season of his career so far and his energetic style of play bodes well for Newcastle next season.

You only have to look back as far as April to see the kind of teams interested in taking Kenedy into their ranks for the new season. Sky Sports reported that Bayern Munich and PSG were considering launching bids for the winger; a testament to how highly rated he is.

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Tottenham Hotspur must avoid repeat of Willian situation as Chelsea enter Malcom race

Tottenham are again looking to beat Chelsea to the signing of a Brazilian attacking talent.

Mathew Nash



Tottenham Hotspur are back in the race for Brazilian winger Malcom. Le10 Sport reported this week that Spurs are now the frontrunners for the player, with Inter Milan falling short in their pursuit. The French source claimed Malcom was now available for just £35.3 million.

The same source has since gone on to report that Tottenham are now looking into the deal. However, that most recent report also commented on the presence of a transfer rival. It is suggested that Chelsea are entering the race.

Which immediately harks back to memories of Tottenham’s failed pursuit for Willian in 2013. Andre Villas-Boas had identified the Anzhi Makhachkala winger as the perfect option for Spurs. As reported by the BBC, a £30 million fee was agreed and a medical had been undertaken. Willian, was set to be a Tottenham player.

(during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on April 1, 2018 in London, England.

However, two days later, Willian had joined Chelsea.

It was a huge blow for Spurs and left them open to ridicule from Chelsea fans.

The parallels are clear. A talented young Brazilian winger wanted by Spurs, but with Chelsea set to swoop in.

The irony on this occasion is that Chelsea may even be targeting Malcom as a replacement for Willian, who is a target for Barcelona and Manchester United.

Tottenham must not be left with their tails between their legs once again.

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Kenedy loan arrival creates transfer window momentum for Newcastle

Jake Jackman



Photo: Getty Images

Newcastle United are set to complete the loan signing of Chelsea winger Kenedy, according to Sky Sports. The 22-year-old has been a long-term target for Rafa Benitez and he proved why during the second-half of last season in a Magpies’ shirt. He was a revelation and played a major role in the club’s excellent form in 2018.

Although he only contributed two goals and two assists, his overall contribution was a sizeable one and it is not a surprise that Newcastle have brought him back for another year. It is thought that the deal includes an option to buy and that is a positive for the Magpies. At the age of 22, Kenedy is already a first-team calibre player and his potential for growth is huge.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Benitez knows that he has a limited budget at St James’ Park, but he is doing his best to provide the squad with as much quality as possible. Kenedy joins Ki Sung-Yueng and Martin Dubravka as new signings this summer, with all three joining at a low cost. It shows impressive squad management by the Magpies’ manager as all three have the ability to start regularly for the first-team.

The arrival of Kenedy could be the turning point of the summer for Newcastle and provide the positive momentum required as we reach the final weeks of the transfer window. It was clear that the Brazilian would be the priority target for the club after the impact he had last season. He was one of the standout players during the second half of the campaign, providing the dynamism and final ball that was previously lacking in the squad.

Towards the end of last season, supporters were pessimistic about Kenedy returning for the 2018/19 campaign, due to his excellent form. The risk posed by loan deals is that the parent club can choose to take the player back into their own club, while other teams can become interested. Sky Sports reported back in April that Bayern Munich and PSG were both interested in the 22-year-old. This underlines how highly the player is thought of in the game.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

This summer has been one of slow progress for Newcastle with tensions remaining between owner and manager, but the arrival of Kenedy represents a major breakthrough. Benitez wanted the winger to return and the club have made it happen in a deal that provides more security for the Magpies, as they have an option to buy.

They must now use this positive momentum to make further additions to the squad. Benitez will want another two or three quality additions, with a striker being at the top of his hit-list. Newcastle haven’t broken their transfer record since Mike Ashley bought the club, but that will need to change this summer if they are to appease their world class manager.

As long as Benitez remains as the club’s manager, the supporters will have a symbol of hope for the future. However, the Spaniard’s contract expires at the end of the season and he will need to see progress both on and off the pitch before he signs a new deal. The loan signing of Kenedy is a positive, but more quality additions are required to class this transfer window as a successful one.

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