Former Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho, has hit back at critics who accused him of selling Mohamed Salah while he was in charge at Stamford Bridge, saying it was the club, and not him, who made the decision to let the Egyptian player go.
The accusations may now be regarded as sour grapes following Salah’s recent success on the field and in being awarded the PFA Player of the Year.
When the Portuguese manager brought Salah to Chelsea from FC Basel in January 2014 for €16.5-million, the then 21-year-old was seen as a potential star in the making.
Given the recent criticism to sell Salah on to Florentina, Mourinho is keen to point out that it was his decision to buy the youngster and that he was not to blame for selling him on.
The once self-crowned “special one” says that when the young Egyptian player arrived at The Bridge, he was in effect still a young kid. Chelsea’s former manager says that he was not either physically or mentally ready to become a member of the first team squad.
He experienced a rough time in those early days as he was both culturally and socially lost in his new home. As it was apparent that he had much to learn (learning that he could only get through regular football) it was decided to loan the youngster out to the Italian side, Florentina.
The decision also suited Salah as he was desperate for play consistent, first team football. It was while he was at Florentina that the young forward began to mature. When Chelsea then decided to seal the deal that saw the Egyptian become a permanent fixture at Florentina, Mourinho is adamant that he was not party to that accord.
But as Mourinho points out, football is not an exact science and clubs and managers sometimes make mistakes. Players sometimes come on in unexpected ways, while in other instances, some players never reach the full potential that is expected of them. It’s the way the cookie crumbles.
One thing is for sure and that is that The Blues need to be very active this summer in terms of buying in new players. Roman Abramovich has his sights firmly fixed on going ahead even though there is uncertainty over who will be manager next season.
Amongst the players that Chelsea have on their wanted list is the Nice midfielder, Jean-Michel Seri. Chelsea have been after him for quite a while and are prepared to pay in the region of £30-million to secure his services. According to reports, the other English Premiership clubs interested in Seri include Arsenal, Barcelona, and Liverpool.
If Antonio Conte does leave Stamford Bridge at the end of this season, the list of potential replacements includes Maurizio Sarri (currently with Napoli), Max Allegri (currently with Juventus, and Luis Enrique, who departed company with Barcelona a year ago.
There is much speculation as to who the new manager could be, and as well as those mentioned above, Massimiliano Allegri and Carlo Ancelotti are still in the betting.
If Abramovich does take on a new manager to replace Conte, he wants the new manager to inherit a squad that can challenge for titles next season., so he won’t be hanging about waiting for his current manager to make his mind up.