Jose Mourinho’s star may be losing its shine. Make that back-to-back seasons in which the Portuguese has failed to deliver a trophy. Mark this past season as one which featured an incredibly undeserved attack on Arsene Wenger, only to result in the Frenchman with more to smile about in the way of silverware.
Mourinho needs to reassert himself in a positive way. It used to be a thrilling ride keeping up with the Portuguese, even if you didn’t always agree with him. Now it’s becoming somewhat exhausting.
Chelsea’s failure to win the Premier League last season, when there was no real reason why they shouldn’t have done, was palmed off by the manager to poor officiating – which, in fairness, Chelsea saw both sides of – and the underperforming strike force.
Mourinho also said that his little horse wasn’t equipped for tilt at the title, regardless of what others thought, and his best work during his second stint at Stamford Bridge would start as of next season.
And it’s hard not to be impressed. Mourinho is continuing to strip away the undesirables. Romelu Lukaku will follow David Luiz out and off the club’s books this summer. The Belgian will continue on with the trend set by Juan Mata and Kevin De Bruyne and upheld by Luiz. He’ll bring in a handsome fee following two eye-catching seasons in English football. Samuel Eto’o is already out and Fernando Torres and Demba Ba could follow, if not both then certainly one.
In their place, Diego Costa: a battering ram of a centre-forward, perfectly moulded to suit Mourinho’s style and with the credentials, 35 goals last season, to lead Chelsea’s attack. Cesc Fabregas is the most unlikely of midfield additions, but one that makes plenty of sense. David Luiz’s fee covers the best part of Fabregas and Costa’s signings.
This new-look Chelsea team are looking an exceptional and irresistible outfit. Mourinho wants another centre-back to go along with the incoming Kurt Zouma. Atletico Madrid’s Filipe Luis is also said to be close, while the La Liga champions’ veteran midfielder Tiago will make a return to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea are also said to be targeting Toni Kroos. Chelsea have a way about them in the transfer market, one that doesn’t just amount to a seemingly limitless supply of cash. There’s very little regard for others who appear to be standing in their way. The signings of Willian, Eden Hazard, Oscar, and Mohamed Salah are recent reminders. If they want the Bayern midfielder they’ll get him.
Where Chelsea once dived into the transfer pool, causing an almighty splash and making no apologies for their profligacy, they’re being calculated and shrewd this time around, arguably more so than any other major club in Europe.
There’s something ruthless in the way Chelsea are carrying out their sales. The club have no business recouping well over £100 million for three players they didn’t want or need, let alone preparing to see that figure soar in the coming months. It’s ludicrous; it raises questions about the buying clubs seated at the other end of the table; it’s absolutely brilliant.
Chelsea are complying with Financial Fair Play, and they’re getting stronger by doing so.
There was a lot said about the club stockpiling some of Europe’s brightest talents and loaning them out. But maybe that was the plan all along. It created problems, seen by the situation raised over Thibaut Courtois’ involvement for Atletico against Chelsea in the Champions League. But it’s another stroke of brilliance if the club are following, to the letter, a long-term plan laid out that would see them reap the profits of developed youngsters.
And credit to Mourinho on a personal level. He may not have endeared himself to many last term, but he did enough to buy himself time. Be continuing to label last season’s squad as incomplete, he was creating a get-out-of-jail card that the club’s hierarchy really couldn’t dispute. After all, that was largely a squad Mourinho inherited.
He’s the only manager thus far this summer to strengthen in such a way that forces other title challengers to look up and take notice. He’s completely rubbished Wenger’s claim that few deals will happen before the World Cup.
His decisions may be contentions and his controversial manner unnecessary. But Mourinho is at Chelsea to win, and his is a team that looks set to storm the Premier League next season.