Eight players Mourinho wasted for over €200m

Rumors abound that Manchester United, under manager Jose Mourinho, are looking to offload Anthony Martial for a significant loss on the €60m they paid for the teenager just two years ago. It’s a rumor that makes sense given Mourinho’s reluctance to bring up young players, opting instead to buy readymades, and his history of selling off expensive properties for a cut rate when they fail to impress him. Some of Jose’s biggest flops have simply failed, being either too old or just not good, but others have been deemed surplus to requirements by Jose only to go on to be top players in their positions and command transfer fees in the multiples above what they were sold for.

Below we look at his most famously wasted players or purchases. Jose Mourinho didn’t buy and sell all these players but he did have a major role to play in their downfall and as a result, the losses their sales incurred on his (usually former) club. Lets have a look at Jose’s most wasted eight.

Shaun Wright-Phillips – €20m loss. Purchased in 2005 for what was nearly a record fee of €31.5m, Wright-Phillips struggled under Mourinho to start regularly. Wright-Phillips played in 27 League matches in each of his two seasons under Mourinho but only played 2272 minutes or the equivalent of 25 full matches. His scoring and assists record reflected his paucity of playing time scoring just 2 goals and creating 7 in Premier League play for Jose. He was sold at the end of the 2008 season back to Man City for a mere €11.25m. SWP never really impressed in his career and was simply overpriced when Jose bought him.

Mo Salah – €22m loss. Salah was hailed as a rising young star when Mourinho snapped him up for €16.5m but it soon became apparent that the Portuguese manager didn’t appreciate Salah’s talents. Salah played just 879 total minutes, in all competitions, under Mourinho scoring twice and setting up four goals. He was part of a culling by Jose and was sent off on loan to Roma after just one season at Chelsea. Roma played him regularly and Salah has blossomed, scoring 34 goals and getting 24 assists. His record at Roma drew the attention of Liverpool, who completed his signing for €42m just this week. If Chelsea had hung on to this player, they could be the ones benefiting from the windfall transfer, or they could have kept the player and have a great wide player for next season. Taking into account all of his loans and his current value, Chelsea lost €22m because Mourinho simply couldn’t get the best out of this player.

Juan Cuadrado – €5m loss. Cuadrado was a huge part of Jose Mourinho’s second coming at Chelsea as the third most expensive player in Chelsea’s €138m “welcome back” spending spree. Despite his huge price tag, Jose played him a mere 15 times for a total of 362 minutes before he was loaned back to Serie A, where he figured in a Juventus side which made two Champions League runs.

Kevin de Bruyne – €44m loss. One of Chelsea’s many young players that they stash all over the universe, de Bruyne was purchased for a mere €8m from Genk in 2011 and immediately loaned back out to the Belgian side. He spent the next few years bumping around on loan but was brought back to Chelsea for the 2013/14 season. Two things were immediately apparent: this was a player of unusual talent and a player who Mourinho disliked. De Bruyne made just 9 appearances for Chelsea before being transferred to Wolfsburg for €22m, a tidy profit of €14m. Only one small problem; de Bruyne went on to be player of the season at Wolfsburg scoring 10 goals and making 21 assists. He was then sold to Manchester City for the tidy fee of €74m. WHOOPS!?

Lukaku – €97m loss. The one that got away. Lukaku was bought from Anderlecht for €15m and immediately loaned out to West Brom. There Lukaku made a habit of doing one thing, scoring goals. Was brought back into the Chelsea first team for the summer of Mourinho’s return only to be shipped out to another team in blue, Everton. The Toffees realized the value they had in this player and negotiated a trade for a club record €35m. At 24 years old, Lukaku has already scored an absurd 53 League goals in just 110 appearances. A goal every other game is the return of a world class striker in his prime and the thought of Lukaku not only continuing this trend but possibly getting better is as frightening as seeing his 1.9m, 100kg frame bearing down on your favorite team’s defense. This summer Lukaku is one of the Premier League’s most wanted forwards. Everton have him locked up with a five year deal and are fully aware of his value: they are demanding €114m from prospective buyers and rumor has it he’s already signed a pre-agreement to go to another club, probably one in Manchester. If sold for that price, Chelsea will have lost on his potential, his actual goals, and the massive payday that Everton are set to receive. Not only that but with main striker Diego Costa told he’s surplus to requirements (via text no less, because… classy) Chelsea will need to spend huge to get in a top striker in top form. My €97m loss might turn out to be closer to a €200m loss if they have to spend €100m on a replacement and also lose out on Lukaku’s transfer fee. Possibly the most absurd piece of business in football history.

Quaresma – €17m loss. Quaresma is yet another player Mou bought and immediately had regrets. Purchased from Porto for Inter on deadline day 2008 for €24.6m, sent on loan to Chelsea that winter and sold to Besiktas for a mere €7.3 in 2010. Had 32 appearances for Mourinho but only totaled 1469 minutes and just one goal.

Matic – €22m loss. One day Jose likes a player, the next day he doesn’t and then a few days later he likes the player again. That’s the story of Nemanja “Slow Legs” Matic. Purchased for €1.75m, sold for a profit at €5m, and then bought back again for €25m. What’s even more comical is that Mourinho is in for him again! This time he wants Man U to buy him, for £40m! That would make Matic the most unspectacular £40m man in the history of football. No one even knows what Matic does. You can watch a whole game and never eve notice that his on the pitch. But what he does do for certain is make his agents money on giant transfer fees.

Andriy Shevchenko – €43m loss. It’s one thing to buy a player like Shaun Wright-Phillips, who is overhyped and overpriced, and quite another to take a player who scored 103 goals in 219 appearances for Carlo Ancelotti, and turn him into a player who scored 15 goals in 53 appearances. As he did under Jose Mourinho. People who only watch Premier League football may forget what a great player Sheva was at Milan so let me help recount the ways: Balon d’Or, Champions League winner, Milan’s all-time top scorer in the Champions League, 2-time Serie A golden boot, and FIFA 100. But when he came to Chelsea he was already 30 years old, was coming off an injury, adjusting to a new league, and would end up spending much of the season injured. Many said that, like Torres later, Andriy just needed to gain some confidence and he would score at least one world class goal (against Tottenham). There is also more than a hint that Jose Mourinho didn’t want Shevchenko and that he was forced upon him by owner Roman Abramovich, a split which would eventually lead to Mourinho and Chelsea parting ways (for the first time). Shevchenko was eventually loaned back to Milan a shadow of himself and never regained the form of his career before Chelsea. That was down to a combination of injury, age, and because Jose Mourinho simply couldn’t give him the chance he needed to be the top striker again.



  1. whoever write this definitely don’t like Mourinho. Matic wasn’t sold by Mourinho, in fact he brought him back to Chelsea. and if a player didn’t perform is that a problem of the Coach.the fact is is Mourinho a successful coach or not? please write substance next time not fictitious things with silly statistics.

    1. I was wondering how long Jose’s fans would take to respond to this.
      Not very 🙂

      Musa, I’m sure Mourinho being the biggest spender by far on player transfers since 2004 ( over €1b) out of all football managers, has had nothing to do with his continued success.

      I would safely add another €30 m to his “wasted” tally for overpaying for Pogba.

      Mourinho is a super agent’s wet dream.

        1. Pogba’s agent is Raiola while Mourinho’s is the other super agent Jorge Mendes.

          But it would be interesting to see if a manager would have to recuse himself from any negotiations during a transfer of a player with whom he shared an agent.

          1. Nope, he doesn’t have to. In the case of Mourinho Diego Torres book about his time at Madrid is very telling. It meant exclusive open access for Mendes.

          2. There was also a book, or some interview, by a Portuguese journalist about Mourinho’s time at Porto and he made some major allegations, and claimed to have received death threats. It’s a good few years back and the details are sketchy in my mind. I couldn’t decide if there was anything to it, but allegations of one sort or another seem to follow Mourinho around.

  2. Are you Jose Mourhino’s accountant or maybe Christinao’s.Because you juggling with fictitious figures makes you a prime candidate

    1. All figures from Transfermarkt.com or reported in the British Press. All responsibility for those figures is on those sources.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. I loathe Mourinho, but I guess he would respond by listing trophies. I’m not sure his / Chelsea’s fans care about the accounting as long as they win a title every couple of years. Losing money on players doesn’t matter if a) you have an owner for whom £50m is chump change, and b) the team wins stuff.

    Mourinho is a worthless human being. The fact that he is successful tells you that football is amoral.

    1. He would list trophies. Then if Arsenal supporters list trophies Wenger has won (3 FA Cups in 4 years, not shabby) he would respond either with Wenger’s spend (which is true) or that the FA Cup/Charity Shield isn’t a real trophy, all while bragging about his own League Cups/Charity shields. No one does circular logic quite like Jose.

    2. I’m sure they don’t. Much like any other successful club’s fans.
      It’s mostly Arsenal fans who do because we’ve been preconditioned by Wenger to associate not spending big with running the club the “right way”, which is not necessarily one and the same.

      1. I just like rubbing it in that Mourinho basically picks players he hates and then shoves them out the door.

  4. The problem with Martial (whom Van Gaal bought) is that he’s a Wengerish player, not a Mourinhoish player. These are two managers who have opposite philosophies. I think Martial would thrive at Arsenal. I also think Mourinho thinks the same thing, which makes his sale to Arsenal very, very unlikely.

    1. Wonder what van Gaal thinks about the situation now. I don’t think he and Wenger have any particular enmity and should at least be on respectful terms.

  5. More remarkable than the amount of monopoly money that Jose has had to play with is how the two English clubs he has managed just throw the stuff around.

    I watched Di Maria play for Argentina the other day, and he looked unstoppable, an amazing talent. He was a failure at United, and sold at a £16m loss. They paid big money, either in wages or transfers, for Di Maria, Martial, Falcao and Pogba, and not one of them has been successful — although I think Pogba is going to be an immense player for them.

    They look a club without a clue about what they want. As long as it’s expensive, seemingly.

  6. I’d throw an asterisk next to Di Maria’s name. He was forced out of Madrid over wages and never wanted to move to Manchester. He got his PSG ticket the following summer when the French club had the funds available.

  7. I’m still laughing about Mourinho taking Falcao on loan after he’d disappointed with Utd, only for him to come back to the highest level of the game a season later with Monaco. The Shevchenko signing was pure comedy – one of the world’s greatest ever strikers and he basically phoned in his time with Mourinho and laughed all the way to the bank.

    I do give Mourinho some credit for knowing when he’s made a mistake and bringing a player back especially if that player has a crucial role in winning him a title. Matic is a very confusing player though, he looked like a Rolls-Royce that season and he’s been a regular Golf ever since.

  8. I would not be at all surprised if it came out one day that Mourinho gets a cut of the agents’ fees like Redknapp. He is already following ‘arry’s footsteps with regards to tax evasion. He is wheeling & dealing during every transfer window much like Redknapp and he seems to have absolutely no reservations when it comes to spending money. Hilariously, he actually complained about not being able to compete in the transfer market not too long ago (I think it was the summer before his spectacular downfall from Chelsea). Presumably, Abramovich didn’t want to spend too much money after just having won the title. I always thought he was over-rated as a manager given the amount of money he spent every year and I like him even less as a person. He is a massive … let’s just say it rhymes with hunt.

    I would love it if we could “rescue” Anthony Martial. Alas, as Bunburyist pointed out, Mourinho would never sanction that move – especially because he knows Wenger would totally be able to do it and make him look like the chump that he is.

    1. You base your accusation that Mourinho takes bungs on what, exactly?

      Look, I can’t stand Mourinho, and I love your posts more than most others’, but but let’s not throw around serious accusations that we then don’t present evidence of. It’s a serious charge.

      1. The BBC made allegations against Ferguson and his son (who was an agent) in that the manager gave greater access to his son’s agency and favoured players who signed with him. There was also supposed to be some hanky panky around Jaap Stam’s transfer away. Ferguson didn’t speak to the BBC for years because of it, who refused to back down and challenged him to sue.

        Whether Jose gets kickbacks or not, it certainly isn’t a very good look for football in general to have these sort of situations. My guess is this is a larger issue than Mourinho and it would amaze me if agents’ fees didn’t find their way back to some figures who decide to pay them. It’s business after all, and with player values indeterminate, it is prime grounds for money laundering.

        1. One only needs to take a look at the situation at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Mendes brokered the deal to buy the club for some Chinese investors that also held a stake in his agency. Those investors now have given Mendes free reign to bring in his players. Oh and the coach is now Nuno, formerly of Valencia and one of Mendes first clients. There was a good article in the Guardian about the situation recently.

    2. I don’t think it’s anything that overt, they’re mutually beneficial allies. One helping the other at every turn. It’s fishy but I don’t think there are direct payments. Diego Torres’ book about Mourinho’s time in Madrid goes more in depth about the entanglements.

    3. ‘rhymes with hunt’
      Berk (as in Berkshire Hunt) is the way ‘arry would express this

  9. This will sound crazy to some but if we could scoop Martial from Utd instead of Mbappe or Lacazette that would be by far the best scenario. I think Martial is a fantastic prospect, under van Gaal he took players on and showed power and pace. Under Mourinho he’s a winger scared to make a mistake.

    I know you didn’t rate Schurle, but I think he was a good player and he got off-loaded as well, although I think Chelsea at least broke even off that.

    By the way, his record at Real was just as bad. Lots of good players there never got a look into the first team. It makes me laugh that Morata would consider going there.

    I’m not too happy about the Cuadrado rumors; so the merry-go-round is Sanchez to Bayern, Costa to Juventus, Cuadrado to us? Cuadrado plays right-wing back for Columbia… what does that mean for Bellerin?

    1. They actually made money off Schurrle and he hasn’t been very good back in Germany.

  10. as bad as mourinho has been managing many of his talents, wenger has done just as bad. the only difference is wenger hasn’t spent as much money over the past decade. there are plenty of talented players who have wasted the best years of their career coming to arsenal and being completely mismanaged by arsene wenger. while it may be true that mourinho has wasted careers, i simply don’t give a damn about what he’s doing. i only care about arsenal. the players that have come to arsenal and trusted wenger to help them grow or to win championships have had to learn the hard way that they would have to figure it out on their own with seemingly little to no strategic direction from the manager. at least mourinho does provide strategy. we may not like it but it works for him. arsenal need to find what works for them.

    another difference between mourinho and wenger is that mourinho has always gone on to win championships. how many championships has mourinho won since wenger won his last championship? we should be focused on arsenal, not mourinho.

    1. This is the difference between being Tier 1 rich and Tier 2 rich. The kinds of mistakes you can afford to make.

      I would love to see an accounting of Arsene’s losses over that period. I’m guessing less than 50mm.

      To be clear, I hate Mou because he’s a digusting person, but I don’t think a willingness to take risks* and admit** you’re wrong by cutting your losses is a bad thing. One could argue that an Wenger’s unwillingness to be ‘ruthlessness’ is why we haven’t won a title in so long.***

      *Of course, it’s easy to take risks with other people’s money. When it works you’re the special one, when it stops working you move on down the road.

      **I’m pretty sure he never actually admitted he was wrong about anything, let alone a player.

      ***Alternatively you could argue that Wenger is a better man for treating his players like humans and thereby wins their trust and loyalty. This argument will be less convincing if Ozil and Ox walk. But honestly, the parade of people who betrayed Wenger’s faith, particularly RVP and Fabregas suggests that decency and loyalty are not winning strategies. In the other hand maybe Wenger’s rep will get us Mbappe, Lemar and Keita and 8 years of PL/CL dominance.****

      ****It’s silly season, if the papers can make sh*t up then so can I.

      1. it’s less about the money and more about the decision making. you can call it betrayal but many decisions wenger has made has caused players to leave the club and led to arsenal becoming a laughing stock that many top teams don take seriously. it’s also led to many players not wanting to come to arsenal. this has nothing to do with money. mentioning money is merely a cop out to make a b.s. argument.

    2. Which players that floundered at Arsenal under Arsene but went on to be brilliant at another club are you talking about?

      1. i haven’t said that players floundered at arsenal but went on to be brilliant elsewhere. my implication is that players were often denied a chance to be their best due to the way wenger managed them or the team at the time.

        however, for kicks, let’s call cesc fabregas to the stand as said player. cesc is no #10 but wenger played him there for nearly his entire arsenal career. the one year he didn’t play in the 10 spot, arsenal nearly won the league. the reason arsenal didn’t win the league that year was because, instead of replacing the chronically injured rosicky, wenger put diaby on the wing. diaby was such a disaster on the wing that people began to dislike him but i digress. one would think wenger would be on to something and keep cesc in the deeper role. wrong. wrong! not wenger.

        meanwhile, arsenal have had players who were legitimate 10s that were never given an opportunity to shine because of wenger’s determination to see his fantasy of converting cesc to a #10 fulfilled. end result? cesc leaves arsenal and goes on to win nearly every trophy in football, including two bpl titles in the past three years. neither of those trophies was won with cesc playing as a #10.

        there’s theo at center forward.
        ramsey in the 10 spot behind van persie (instead of juan mata).
        arshavin on the wing.
        ox playing everywhere except goal keeper.
        joel campbell being benched despite playing well.
        lucas perez being benched despite playing well.
        serge gnabry being loaned despite playing well.
        paying £35 million for mustafi.
        the decision to buy mustafi at all.
        rosicky being diagnosed requiring surgery in september but arsenal playing him until he breaks down in january and not allowed to have surgery until june.

        players have trusted wenger with their careers and their health and he’s failed quite a few of them with bad decisions. not only did these types of decisions affect the player directly, they caused other players to lose faith in their ability to win at arsenal, which led to them leaving. it also caused others to not want to come to arsenal.

        there is this belief that wenger did certain things out of loyalty to the players. take any of those situations and ask yourself is it possible that wenger made these “loyalty” moves because he wanted to prove that he was smarter than everyone else and that he could defy conventional wisdom? it might come as a shock to you that many arguments could be made to that end.

        1. neither of those trophies was won with cesc playing as a #10.

          Yeah, and Cesc was half the player he was at Arsenal where he was in line to be the best midfielder in the world, which is why Barcelona wanted him anyway. Playing behind Iniesta and Messi, and Hazard and Costa won those trophies for Cesc. Him playing at 8 was not the main factor there I would reckon.

          theo at center forward.(It certainly worked for a while. He’s limited though and that’s a problem wherever you play him. He does score goals)

          ramsey in the 10 spot behind van persie (instead of juan mata). Que? Where does this comparison come from? Obviously Mata is the better player, but we didn’t have Mata or anyone like him.

          arshavin on the wing. (He wasn’t better than Cesc and he used to play drifting in from the left before we bought him too)

          ox playing everywhere except goal keeper. (Umm..so?)

          joel campbell being benched despite playing well. (He’s pulling up trees where? Even though I like him you can hardly say this was a mistake)

          lucas perez being benched despite playing well.(Injuries had something to do with it too, no?)

          serge gnabry being loaned despite playing well.(He was injured and needed game time. His loan went badly but loaning him out was the right decision)

          paying £35 million for mustafi.
          the decision to buy mustafi at all. (Right, I get you don’t like Mustafi, but I’ve pointed out again and again that 35m is about the price you would expect for a player of that age and profile)

          rosicky being diagnosed requiring surgery in september but arsenal playing him until he breaks down in january and not allowed to have surgery until june. (I didn’t know about this)

          You’re not wrong. But you are certainly being uncharitable. Your prerogative of course, but not everything is as cut and dried in favour of your interpretation as you make it out to be.

          1. i’m not implying that cesc wasn’t a top player when he was at arsenal. my point is that he wasn’t a #10. i’ve praised cesc all season, declaring that he was chelsea’s mvp. there were at least ten games this season where chelsea were likely to drop points when cesc came off the bench and scored the game-winning goal or got the game-winning assist in the last 15 minutes of the game. he was wasted as a #10 by arsene wenger.

            any success theo had at center forward was luck. he’s no center forward. wenger wasted that time, money, and opportunity.

            juan mata was supposed to come when fabregas left, that’s why i mentioned him. when he didn’t come, ramsey played as a 10 that season. that’s the ramsey/mata correlation. it’s also a wenger wasted opportunity.

            i never said arshavin was a better player than cesc but he was a better #10; absolute magic around the 18 yard box. we seldom saw that magic because wenger often stuck him out on the wing to cater to the cesc project. the tendency of a striker (arshavin) to drift from a side of the field is not the same having defensive duties of a wide player. that was wenger.

            ox playing everywhere is a huge deal. it would likely be the reason he leaves arsenal. a young player can’t develop to a high level in a timely manner if they’re always moved around. it’s hard enough just to make it. why throw that extra load demand on a youngster? his talent is undeniable and has fans asking when is the ox finally going to break through. wenger continually moving him is an anchor that’s slowing down his progression, just like it did theo’s. that would also be arsene wenger facilitating chamberlain’s departure.

            initially, valencia didn’t ask £35 million for mustafi. it was more like £22 million. arsene wenger unsettled their player and drug their feet on getting the deal done, pretending they were considering other option. valencia called his bluff and the longer it took and the closer it got to the start of the season, the higher valencia raised the price. raphael varane is a £35 million pound defender, mustafi is not.

        2. Tim’s piece to me was more specifically about Mourinho not being able to recognise/nurture talent that then went on to become great players elsewhere. That’s not something you can really excuse Arsene of as almost every time he chooses to offload a player they’re never quite as good, even if the win silverware with their new teams.

          I don’t think there’s many ex Arsenal players that would say Arsene didn’t improve them or give them a fair chance and I can’t think of any player that Arsene voluntarily got rid of that became a better player somewhere else.

          1. okay, now i understand where you’re coming from. my whole point is not about wenger letting players go at the wrong time. it was about him creating an environment where great players didn’t believe they could meet their career ambitions at arsenal so they decided to leave. in essence, he indirectly facilitated the departures of players like van persie, cesc, and many other top players who are often referred to as judas’. if alexis leaves, the situation that wenger has allowed to develop at the club will be the reason why, not because wenger didn’t recognize his talent.

        3. Im no defender of Wenger (God forbid), but that’s a series of really unfair assessments. A lot of it is too hindsight led. Are you sure that nearly winning the league was due to Cesc being played in his position correctly for once? The implication is that Cesc had one good season at Arsenal, which was not the case at all. He stands as one of Wenger’s greatest success stories, and for us, Spain and Barcelona, he has played 4, 10 and false 9.

          Wenger has stated that Ox’s position is central midfield, but when others have berths locked down, you have to take your chances where and when you can. Ox was unready for a long time, but he has seized his chances lately, particularly at right wing back. Sometimes a player is just PLAYED, for game time. See Jack and Ramsey out wide.

          On flogging players to injury, yes, that’s been one of my biggest beefs with Wenger over the years. But not all of the criticism here is fair.

          1. my man, it is not hindsight. i felt like morgan freeman narrating when it was all going down.

            my implication was that arsenal was better when cesc played deeper in midfield than when he played higher, not that he only had one good season. with hleb in the 10 spot, arsenal had a proper 10, behind a center forward, who could collapse defenses with the dribble (that’s not cesc’s game). with cesc deeper in midfield, he had more time and space to create than he did in the pressure cooker behind the forward. fabregas put up his career best at arsenal with 14 goals and 22 assists. it’s the only time arsenal came close to winning the league in the time cesc was at the club. could it be a coincidence? sure, but i don’t think so, especially considering what he’s done at chelsea behind an imposing center forward and a dribbler at the 10; a spot of deja vu.

            i understand your stance concerning chamberlain but it’s so tough to progress when you’re being moved all over the place. you have to respect the increased challenge he’s facing and the likelihood of liverpool saying he can play a certain position could lead to his departure. in fairness, i don’t know what conversations ox has had with wenger but he’d better be at his charming best because arsenal would look like fools if we lost our most talented youngster to liverpool at 23 years old.

  11. KDB and Lukaku are the most pronounced mistakes by Mourinho imo. He really was being short sighted and showed his lack of judgement for young talent (he will never get the Bayern job because of this).

    I think the other transfers are just part of the mechanics of modern football. Once considered surplus to requirements, regardless of circumstance, players lose value.

    Sheva was washed up, Quaresma had a bad attitude for a player of his natural talent (a lazy version of CR7), SWP was too inconsistent, Quadrado just isnt buildt for the EPL mentally, Salah and Matic were not ready at the time he bought them.

    If Martial leaves then that would be the final nail in my view. No young player (Mbappe/Ousmane Dembele etc) would want to join United with Mou there.

  12. Read on Arseblog news that according to L’Equipe we made a 2nd bid for Thomas Lemar. The Guardian just published an article on how our £31MM bid for him was rejected with Monaco adamantly saying that the player is not for sale. However the guardian article doesn’t mention if it was the first bid or the second one that got rejected. It’s an interesting situation. I can’t imagine how Monaco would be willing to let go of almost all their stars in one transfer window.

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