Jose Mourinho’s second tenure at Chelsea saw two Belgian youngsters who many thought were ripe and ready for the PL, get frozen out and shipped out of the Bridge. He even oversaw the purchase and torture of one Egyptian star. You all know who I am talking about and we have all taken the mickey out of Mourinho for his blunders on all three of these players when their stars rose away from Stamford Bridge.
Kevin De Bruyne went to Wolfsburg where he played out of his skin amassing 10 goals and 20 assists in one full season at the club, propelling himself back to the Premier League in the colours of Manchester City. At Manchester City, De Bruyne has won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and three League Cup/EFL Cup titles.
Mohamed Salah was loaned to Fiorentina in February 2015 after failing to start a single league match for Chelsea more than halfway through the season. In Italy, he scored 6 goals in 10 starts before returning to Chelsea and being loaned to AS Roma where he spent two seasons, one as a loanee and another as their player. He scored 29 goals and notched 17 assists in the two seasons there. He then sealed a €42m move to Liverpool where he broke all kinds of individual records as he galloped to a scoring title and European stardom under Jurgen Klopp. And once again we laughed and mocked Mourinho for lacking the patience with another Premier League star.
It’s the other Belgian, who has made me ask the question that’s in the headline. A successful loan spell at West Brom (2012/13) saw him score 17 goals in 20 starts and 15 substitute appearances. We all got talking, remember? He was returned to Chelsea where he played 41 minutes in two games before securing a loan move to Everton, which became a permanent one. At Everton, Lukaku showed just how devastating he could be scoring 15, 10, 18, and 25 goals between the 2013/14 and 2016/17.
It shocked many when Manchester United with Mourinho at the helm registered interest in Lukaku and spent £75m (plus an additional £15m in add one) to bring him to Old Trafford. In his first season at Old Trafford, he scored 16 goals in 34 starts in the league and 5 goals in eight starts in the Champions League. Last season the number of games he started dropped to 22 as he came off the bench 10 times. He managed to score 12 goals in the league and 2 goals in 6 starts in the Champions League.
Lukaku has been linked with a move to Inter Milan over the past month, something many Man United fans are eager to see happen. To make things worse Inter Milan are interested in a loan move for the centre forward. This is just an indication of how far his star has fallen and he has proved just how much he isn’t an impact player for the bigger sides in the Premier League.
So maybe just maybe Mourinho got this one right and we actually owe him an apology for mocking his initial assessment of this player.
Do you agree?