Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho will look to improve poor Blues transfer record
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho will hope to avoid a repeat of his underwhelming transfer record from his first Blues reign
Jose Mourinho has set his sights on getting the best from his current Chelsea squad before delving into the transfer market – and history shows the Blues boss has a chequered record when it comes to player recruitment at Stamford Bridge.
The 50-year-old, who has signed a four-year deal, inherits a Chelsea squad brimming with top-class talent, with David Luiz growing into a top Premier League player, Ramires starting to look a real force in midfield and World Cup winner Fernando Torres leading the Blues attack.
Perhaps the most exciting proposition for Mourinho is his attacking trio of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar, who at times were spell-binding in the Premier League last season, and, unfortunately for Chelsea’s rivals, will only improve with age.
The Europa League winners have already been linked with a host of big names over the past few months, including Napoli striker Edinson Cavani, Fiorentina star Stevan Jovetić and Roma’s talismanic midfielder Daniele De Rossi.
This Blues squad only needs some slight adjustments to transform them into serious Premier League contenders.
And Mourinho will hope to fare better than in his previous reign when he dips into the transfer market.
For all his lauded success at Stamford Bridge, it’s easy to forget the series of flops who failed to inspire in first stint – it’s a list which would rival that of his predecessor Rafael Benítez during the Spaniard’s spell at Liverpool.
Mourinho’s most unflattering signing is Andriy Shevchenko. The Ukraine international left AC Milan ranked as one of Europe’s most-feared strikers but failed to match those glittering heights at Chelsea. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
The two-time Champions League winner will argue Shevchenko was a Roman Abramovich purchase, but he has no excuse when it comes to another eastern European, Mateja Kezman.
The now retired Serb arrived in west London in 2004 having scored 105 goals in 122 Eredivisie appearances for PSV Eindhoven, but he could only manage four strikes in 24 outings for the Blues before being sold to Atletico Madrid.
Fortunately for Mourinho, Didier Drogba was a success story for the Blues boss as he provided the goals to help fire them to two Premier League titles, two League Cups and a FA Cup crown but, in particular, Shevchenko’s presence was intertwined with the Special One’s eventual downfall.
Florent Malouda was another big-name arrival that failed to live up to his billing as Mourinho signed the Lyon midfielder in a £13.5m deal, hoping that the Frenchman could fill the voids left by Damien Duff and Arjen Robben.
The £13.5m signing did play a pivotal role in Chelsea’s Premier League title success under Carlo Ancelotti but Mourinho failed to see the best of the winger, who aside from the 2009-10, was a catastrophic buy.
Shaun Wright-Phillips, who like Malouda was a wide player, joined in an eye-watering £21m deal from Manchester City but looked out of his depth at the three-time Premier League winners, scoring 10 goals in 124 appearances.
Other midfield flops include Tiago (£8m), Jiri Jarosik (£5m), Lassana Diarra (£1m), and Steve Sidwell (free).
Mourinho didn’t fare any better when it came to strengthening his Chelsea rearguard, with Netherlands international Khalid Boulahrouz arriving in an £8.5m deal from Hamburg but proving a liability.
Free agent Tal Ben Haim, who proved something of nemesis for Chelsea during his time at Bolton Wanderers, gave a telling insight into his limitations on his debut as Torres, also making his Liverpool bow, toyed with the Israeli defender before scoring his first Reds goal.
Of course, Mourinho did have some successes among the £225.76m spent during his three-and-a-half years at the club, namely Ricardo Carvalho, Ashley Cole, Didier Drogba and Michael Essien, but there were far more failures.
It’s also worth mentioning that Mourinho was fortunate to inherit a squad which was well-assembled by his predecessor Claudio Ranieri, with Petr Cech, Duff, Lampard, and Claude Makelele all signed by the Italian.
The 50-year-old did fare much better at Inter Milan. The 18-time Italian champions already had the bones of a title-winning squad, with the likes of Júlio Cesar, Walter Samuel and Javier Zanetti in their ranks.
And in his second summer, Mourinho made a series of shrewd acquisitions as he snapped up Lucio, Diego Milito and Wesley Sneijder. That trio were instrumental in driving the club to the Serie A title, Coppa Italia and Champions League crown in 2010.
It’s a similar situation at Chelsea now.
There is a core capable of winning the Premier League, with experienced veterans such as Cech and Lampard still in form, Luiz and Mata flourishing, and Hazard and Oscar only set to improve in their second seasons in England.
So this summer will be crucial in setting the tone for his second spell in charge, and with the right additions, Mourinho could be adding a third Premier League winner’s medal to his already-heaving trophy cabinet.