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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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