7 players who starred after being sold by Jose Mourinho
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is usually very vocal in backing himself to know exactly what he needs and expects from a player. But the 2017/18 campaign has thrown up a few examples of Mourinho getting it completely wrong. Here are seven players who have starred after being sold by the Special One.
Kevin De Bruyne
De Bruyne was inherited by Mourinho when he took charge of Chelsea for a second time in 2013. But he had a bit-part role for half-a-season before being sold to Wolfsburg for £18m in January 2014. He has since established himself as the heartbeat of the Manchester City team and has arguably been the best midfielder in Europe this season.
Mourinho hasn’t admitted that selling Lukaku was a mistake during his time time at Chelsea, but the fact that a large amount of money was spent bringing him to Mourinho’s United last summer suggests he might see it that way. Lukaku left Chelsea for Everton in a £28m deal in July 2014. United signed him for £75m three years later.
The Premier League’s star performer was also cast aside by Mourinho. Chelsea signed from Basel for £11m in January 2014. But he failed to establish himself as a regular for Mourinho’s side. He was sent on loan to Fiorentina, then Roma in a deal that was later converted to a permanent transfer. He is being talked about in the same breath as the world’s top players since his £36m move to Liverpool last summer.
Robben was one of the first signings of Mourinho’s first spell at Chelsea and a key figure in his early successes. But he was offloaded to Real Madrid in August 2007. He established himself as one of European football’s star performers, particularly after moving to Bayern Munich in 2009.
Many of the players on this list are attacking talents that Mourinho struggled to reconcile with his pragmatic approach. But he also sold one of the world’s top defenders on the cheap. Bonucci was on Inter Milan’s books during the Special One’s time at San Siro. But the A then 22-year-old Bonucci was sold to Genoa in 2009. He has since starred for Juventus, AC Milan and Italy.
Spain international Mata was Chelsea’s two-time player of the year when Mourinho returned to Stamford Bridge. He quickly fell down the pecking order and was transferred to David Moyes’ Manchester United in January 2014. Mata and Mourinho were reunited when the Portuguese boss took charge of United in 2016. Unexpectedly, he has become an trusted member of Mourinho’s squad.
Mourinho would probably have a different take on much of this list than we have, but – in a rare moment of public self-criticism – had admitted that selling Tiago was a mistake. He signed the Portuguese midfielder for Chelsea in July 2004, but got rid of him just a year later. He played for Lyon and Juventus, before establishing himself as a key figure for Atletico Madrid.