Tag Archives: Inter Milan

Jose Mourinho SOLD XI

In recent years, a lot has been made of Arsene Wenger’s “nearly signings”. I have always defended him by highlighting that anyone who has managed at a top club for the 20+ years he has, would have been near to signing nearly every single top player out there.

If, for example, a manager did not know about a teenage Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Neymar, and not attempt to sign them, then they are clearly not doing their job properly.

Every manager, whether it be Sir Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, or more, would have had many players that they were interested, that they were interested in, talking too, who signed for someone else.

It is a pointless discussion and media outlets printing an XI Arsene Wenger nearly signed are doing so just for the hits, the click bait, the advertising revenue.

What I have found interesting this week, however, is trying to builg and Jose Mourinho Sold XI. Now these players are not the likes of Robin van Persie, Gareth Bale of Cristiano Ronaldo – players who their managers did not want to lose – but players who Mourinho deemed not good enough, or no longer good enough, and actively looked to remove them from the club.

I wonder how this XI would perform:

Petr Cech

Jose Mourinho had a tough decision to make between Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois. Ultimately, neither were going to be happy playing second fiddle, and in the end, Mourinho opted for youth.

Cech is both a Chelsea and a Premier League legend, with more Premier League clean sheets than any other ‘keeper, the 35-year-old won 15 trophies in 11 years at Stamford Bridge. He has won the FA Cup at Arsenal.

Juan Cuadrado

One of a long list of players who Mourinho signed and then did not fancy, the Columbian wing-back joined Chelsea for £23.3 million in February 2015.

6 months later, Cuadrado signed a season-long loan deal with Juventus for €1.5 million – whom he stayed with for 2 years, winning back to back Seria A titles.

Leonardo Bonucci

Widely considered one of the best defenders of his generation in world football, Leonardo Bonucci didn’t make a single appearance under Mourinho at Inter Milan, and was sold to Bari, with Inter receiving just £3.4 million.

A year later, Bonucci joined Juventus for more than £13 million, for whom he made over 300 appearances in 7 years, winning 6 Serie A titles and 6 other major trophies.

After 2 Champions League runners-up medals, the 75 capped Italian joined AC Milan on a five-year contract for €42 million in 2017.

David Luiz

Mourinho allowed David Luiz to join Paris Saint-Germain in 2014 for a £50m fee just a month before a horror show in Brazil’s 7-1 defeat to Germany in the World Cup semi-final, seemingly justifying the then Chelsea manager’s decision.

Two years later, the Brazilian international rejoined Chelsea.

He  has flourished since returning to the club under different management, though, and is now dubbed an Antonio Conte masterstroke following Chelsea’s Premier League title win in May.

Filipe Luís

A typical Mourinho transfer deal, Luis was signed in July 2014 for a fee of £15.8 million from Atletico Madrid.

Mourinho seemed to not fancy the player almost straight away, giving him just 9 league starts in his first season, before selling him back to Atletico in 2015 for the same as what they signed him for.


Going way back to Mourinho’s debut season at Chelsea, and the serial winner made the decision to sell Tiago to Lyon for a reported €10.1 million. It was a decision that Mourinho later described as a “big mistake”, and more than a decade on, still with Diego Simeone’s expertly drilled Atletico Madrid squad.

The now-36-year-old was key when Atletico won La Liga, as well as reaching 2 Champions League finals.

3 league titles at Lyon and Atletico to go with his one at Chelsea, the defensive midfielder has 6 honours to his name since Mourinho sold him.

Kevin de Bruyne

The Belgian was signed by Chelsea under AVB in January 2012, and played just three league games in two years at Stamford Bridge. Following a highly impressive loan spell at Werder Bremen, Mourinho sold De Bruyne to Wolfsburg in 2014 for £18 million. De Bruyne lit up the Bundesliga, with 16 goals and 20 assists, being named the Bundesliga Player of the Year.

Manchester City snapped him up for £55 million, just 12 months after Jose had let him go, and he has continued his rich vein of form in the Premier League. He scored 16 goals in his first season at the Etihad and topped the Premier League assist charts in his second.

The best player in the Premier League at the moment

Juan Mata

Juan Mata was a fan’s favourite at Stamford Bridge. Brave, skilful, hard-working. He twice won the Chelsea player of the year award, and was regarded by many as key to Chelsea’s hopes of prizing the title away from Manchester.

So, Mourinho decided to go and sell him. To a Manchester club. Mourinho indirectly blamed UEFAs Financial Fair Play rules for the sale, claiming that to bolster his squad with players that he actually wanted, he had to sell some top talent.

Ironic that two years after deciding he was not good enough, Mata would once again become a key play for Mourinho for Manchester United

Mohamed Salah

Chelsea announced that a deal had been agreed with Basel to bring Salah to London for a fee reported to be in the region of £11 million in January 2014.

6 league starts and a year later, Mourinho loaned him out to Fiorentina. The summer of 2015 saw the Egyptian join Roma on loan.

Whilst Salah was in fact sold under Antonio Conte’s stewardship, Roma were able to purchase him due to a clause inserted into his loan deal with a view to a permanent during Jose Mourinho’s managerial reign.

Arjen Robben

Without doubt one of the greatest players to have been sold by Jose Mourinho, Arjen Robben is an exceptional footballer.

Injuries have thwarted some of the impact that he ought to have had on football, but he still has a remarkable goal scoring record for a winger and is simply unstoppable on his day.

Mourinho signed Robben for Chelsea in 2004, but sold him to Real Madrid for £24 million after three years. After two years in the Spanish capital, the Dutchman headed to Bayern Munich, where he has won 13 trophies and remains to this day.

Romelu Lukaku

Like Mata, Romelu Lukaku has found himself playing for Jose Mourinho after the Portuguese manager had decided he was not good enough.

Sold to Everton for £28 million in 2014 after loan spells for the club and WBA. Mourinho decided that a player who was not good enough in 2014 was worth £90m in 2017, as he signed the forward to lead Manchester United’s forward line.

Substitutes: Victor Valdes, Ryan Bertrand, Robert Huth, Rafael van der Vaart, Andre Schurle, Daniel Sturridge, Zlatan Ibrahimovic



Nacho Monreal, Title Race, Liverpool v Man U & Mauro Icardi

Nacho Monreal

On Saturday I spoke about people moaning after a win. And that when you win, you should be out on the booze, enjoying yourself, rather than moaning online till midnight from your keyboard, this still does not mean that you can criticise constructively. and there is one players form this season that has been particularly worrying. That of Nacho Monreal.

Even before the weekends performance, where the defence looked ropy, there was already some concern around Nacho Monreal.

Not blessed with the extreme pace many a full back now has, he has always been more of a Bacary Sagna of the left. Strong defensively, strong positionally, and the ability to pass and cross. but this season he has struggled.

He has been beaten numerous times too easily on the outside. Average wingers seem to be blasting past him without much effort. And he seems to be diving into challenges with poor decision making. Perhaps a sign that he lacks confidence in himself. Committing early on to the challenge in the hope if he does not win the ball, at least he is being beat high up the pitch.

This leads to situations like the weekend, where he was beaten all too easily by some winger who I have never heard of, will never hear of again, and can’t even bother to Google who he was. The result was a simple tap in.

Some of the blame must be pointed to the man ahead of him, Alex Iwobi.

Iwobi has shown a lot going forward this season, and is fully deserving of a lot of hype and praise, but defensively he does not offer much. Monreal has been spoilt for the last two years having Alexis Sanchez ahead of him, and Iwobi needs to do a bit more.

But ultimately, it comes down to Monreal. He has had some average points in a decent Arsenal career so far, but recent performers show why Arsenal did consider signing a new left back in the summer.

I fully expect Kieran Gibbs to get a run out mid week in the Champions League.

Title Race

No matter how the press might report it, Arsenal are in the title race. And what a title race it is looking to be.

If Man U beat Liverpool tonight, there will be 3 points between 1st and 6th. It might only be 8 games in, ad without going down the Sky Sports hyperboil, we could be on the verge of a legendary title race.

It is the usual 6 suspects who are up there, but they would have got there in different ways, and can be cut into two groups.

Firstly you have the darlingsThese three teams have been “setting a thrilling Premier League pace.” Man City, Spurs and Liverpool.

Had you been on holiday to a far flung place where you get newspapers 2 weeks after they were printed, you’d think Man City were running away with it. That they were Champions Elect. But people have short memories. Last season they won their first 5 games. They finished 4th. This year they won their first 6 games. And have already been reeled back in.


We have that lot up the road. Unbeaten. Only conceded 1 goal from open play. The media are willing them on. Talk of an invincible season after just 8 games. Yet they sit 3rd.

Then we come onto Liverpool. Victory tonight sees them join the top 2 on 19 points. But the way the press have been going on, you would think that they had won 7 from 7 so far. They haven’t. They lost against Burnley…

We also have 3 crisis clubs. Although they are not really in a crisis.

Arsenal sit 2nd in the league on goal difference (joint top?) and continually to frustrate the bitter critics. Rumours last week were that Antonio Conte was about to be sacked. They are 3 points off top. And with all the talk of Jose Mourinho having an imbalanced squad and a useless captain who should be dropped by club and country, they could find themselves just 3 points off the lead by bedtime.

It is hotting up at the top.

Liverpool v Man U

Bit harsh of the Premier League to schedule a Monday night game during a Champions League week…

Mauro Icardi

With all the BS in the summer, one man got me a bit more excited than the other many, many men. That was Mauro Icardi. His age, his ability, his leadership, his playing style, he looked perfect for Arsenal. The deal was not done and Icardi is still an Inter player. Still Inter Milan’s captain.

His recently publish autobiography (he is 24, why does he have a book out? At least we now know it isn’t just an English problem) slammed the Inter Milan Ultra’s and put his future at the club in jeopardy.

Signing someone of Icardi’s talent in January could be a game changer. Could make Arsenal champions.


The Myth of Dennis Bergkamp

After the signing of Mesut Ozil, the talk in blogs and podcasts throughout the Arsenal world is about how the signing is ‘Arsene Wenger’s Dennis Bergkamp moment.’ The theory being that we have not signed a truly world class player since Dennis Bergkamp, and that as with the signing of Bergkamp, it will see more top signings follow.

This is frankly not true.

Firstly, when we signed Dennis Bergkamp, he was no longer a world class performer. After finishing 2nd and 3rd in the 1992 & 1993 Ballon d’Ors respectively, he had gone backwards. His star had fallen.

A disastrous two year spell at Inter Milan led him to leave them for just £400,000 more than what they signed him for. Whilst he went on to become one of Arsenal’s greatest ever players, when we signed him, he was certainly an underperformer. He was not the world class signing that many make out.

Whilst Mesut Ozil has not had the easiest of times over the last 12 months at Real Madrid, his star as not fallen anywhere near as much as Dennis Bergkamp. Whereas many were begining to doubt Dennis Bergkamp’s talent when we signed him, Ozil’s talent is in not doubt. with even Jose Mourinho labelling him as the best number 10 in world football.

The 2nd Dennis Bergkamp myth is his signing lead to the floodgates opening and many more world class players following him through the door. This was just not true.

Dennis Bergkamp signed nearly a month after David Platt had joined the club. No more transfers were made that year, in times before transfer windows. The next season, Arsene Wenger’s 1st, the transfers were as follows:

Valur Gíslason
John Lukic
Remi Garde
Patrick Vieira
Nicolas Anelka

Not a single world class player amongst them. And in 1997, the year of the double, things were no better:

Matthew Upson
Gilles Grimandi
Luis Boa Morte
Alberto Mendez
Marc Overmars
Emmanuel Petit
Alex Manninger
Christopher Wreh

These types of transfers would be the stock of Wenger’s transfer’s. A mixture of talented youngster, and senior players who had become out of favour / injured / unknowns. What is certainly true is that the signing of Dennis Bergkamp did not attract any world class talent to the club.

Whilst there are many comparisons between the signing of Bergkamp and Ozil. I do think we look back at Bergkamp’s through rose tinted, hindsight glasses. Were we really that excited? Or were we moaning we had signed a washed-up home sick Dutchman who can not fly?

For me, the signing of Mesut Ozil is bigger then that of Bergkamp. He is a truly world class player. And with the finances we now have, his signing should open up the floodgates of further world class players wanting to join Arsenal.

The signing of Mesut Ozil is not Wenger’s Dennis Bergkamp moment. It is bigger then that.