An XI of the Best Players Sold by José Mourinho

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Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho has let a few gems slip through his fingers over the years | Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

José Mourinho’s famously ruthless approach to management has earned him no shortage of trophies over his career, guiding him to league titles with four different clubs, and European titles with three.

The downside, however, is that it has also seen him drop a few clangers on the transfer front.

Has he dropped so many clangers that you can pick an entire Mourinho clanger starting XI? Well…

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Cech is the most high-profile goalkeeper let go by Mourinho | OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

OK so actually they’re not all clangers. By the time Mourinho was starting what would be his final season with Chelsea, Cech was 33, out of favour to Thibaut Courtois, and clearly wanted out to play first-team football.

Regardless, the decision to allow him to leave and eventually join bitter rivals Arsenal on a free transfer was not a popular one.

Glen Johnson, Carlo Cudicini
Johnson takes the gloves from Carlo Cudicini | Stu Forster/Getty Images

Famously (or not so much) the first signing of the Roman Abramovich era, Johnson treaded the well-beaten path from West Ham to Chelsea, but struggled to win Mourinho’s favour.

His finest hour came when he went in goal for an FA Cup tie with Newcastle after Carlo Cudicini was sent off late on, and before long he was sold to Portsmouth.

William Gallas, Jose Mourinho
Gallas and Mourinho at Chelsea training | Ben Radford/Getty Images

After being moved on to Arsenal in exchange for Ashley Cole in 2006, Chelsea bizarrely alleged that Gallas threatened to score own goals if he wasn’t sold.

Gallas denied that, and former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri and PFA chief Gordon Taylor expressed doubt.

Mourinho never directly commented, but never made a secret of the fact he was not Gallas’ biggest fan.

Bonucci was never fancied by Mourinho at San Siro, and within a year of the Portuguese’s arrival, he was moved onto Genoa as a sweetener in a deal for Diego Milito and Thiago Motta – not a bad double signing.

Bonucci, though, went on to become one of the best Italian defenders ever.

Cole was signed during Mourinho’s first tenure – controversially from Arsenal – and stayed at the club until 2014, by which point Mourinho was in the midst of his second spell.

He didn’t last long, however, losing his spot in the team to Cesar Azpilcueta, before being released at the end of his contract.

Contrary to popular belief, Mohamed Salah was never actually sold by Mourinho – Mourinho was sacked before his loan to Roma could be made permanent.

But that’s OK, because we’ve got another player who specialises in drifting in from the right onto his left foot.

Robben never quite got on with Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, and was sold to Real Madrid for a then-stratospheric £30m in 2007.

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De Bruyne wasn’t fancied by Mourinho at Chelsea | NICOLAS ASFOURI/Getty Images

This one isn’t covering him in glory, is it?

Kevin de Bruyne: signed for Manchester City for £70m, top of the Premier League assist charts for two years running, and one of the best midfielders in the world.

Also Kevin de Bruyne: sold by Chelsea for less than £20m in 2014.

Inter Milan manager Jose Mourinho (C) sp
Mourinho and Vieira together at Inter | AFP/Getty Images

It takes some cojones to look Patrick Vieira in the eye after a bad performance and tell him he’s played his last game for the club.

That’s what Mourinho did, however. Within 48 hours of an underwhelming performance against Chievo in 2010, Vieira was shipped out to Manchester City, joining former Arsenal Invincibles Kolo Touré and Sylvinho.

It’s quite incredible the extent to which Depay wasn’t fancied by Mourinho at Manchester United. He played a grand total of 20 Premier League minutes spread over four appearances, and was removed from their squad for the Europa League knockout stages – despite being otherwise fit and eligible.

He was later sold for less than half of the £30m United paid for him two years earlier, but has revived his career in some style at Lyon.

Jose Mourinho, Romelu Lukaku
Mourinho and Lukaku at Manchester United | Michael Regan/Getty Images

A couple of successful loans with West Brom and Everton had Lukaku’s stock at an all-time high by 2014, and with Diego Costa having just arrived from Atlético Madrid, the decision was taken to cash in rather than give him a chance to impress.

Mourinho and Lukaku would go on to work together again down the line, when the Portuguese brought him on board at United.

With Mourinho in the dugout and Zlatan leading the line, Inter were never going to be short of self-esteem, were they?

The big Swede left after just one season under the Special One, but not before scoring 25 goals, winning the Serie A player of the year award, and claiming a league title for the sixth successive time in his career.

Like Lukaku, he would later reunite with Mourinho in Manchester…but that was substantially less successful.



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