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.