Jose Mourinho has shed some light on the sale of Mohamed Salah at Chelsea back in 2016, a move which has been heavily criticized as the Egyptian’s stunning season continues to shatter records.
However, instead of giving fans answers, he’s only muddied the waters further.
Mourinho told ESPN that he should be praised for discovering Salah while he played for Swiss side Basel. “People say that I was the one that sold Salah and it is the opposite. I bought Salah. I was the one that told Chelsea to buy Salah. It was with me in charge that Salah came to Chelsea. But he came as a young kid, physically he was not ready, mentally he was not ready, socially and culturally he was lost and everything was tough for him.”
Mourinho continued, saying that while he was influential in convincing the club to make the purchase, he had nothing to do with Salah’s eventual departure. “We decided to put him on loan and he asked for that as well. He wanted to play more minutes, to mature, he wanted to go and we sent him on loan to Fiorentina, and at Fiorentina he started to mature. And when they say that I was the one that sold him it is a lie. I bought him. I agreed to send him on loan, I thought it was necessary, I thought that Chelsea had wingers.”
“So the decision to send him on loan was a decision we made collectively, but after that, the decision to sell him and to use that money to buy another player wasn’t mine. But even if it was, in football we make mistakes a lot of times, so many times some players develop in way we were not expecting, some other don’t reach another level like we thought they would, so I don’t even think this is a mistake, it is just part of the job. But effectively I did buy Salah, I didn’t sell Salah.”
If this sounds a lot like Mourinho making up stories to deflect criticism…where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Back in 2015, Mourinho was asked about Salah’s status at the club. He told Sky Sports that the Egyptian was surplus to requirements, and that the decision had been made to offload him for good.
“I see his future elsewhere,” Mourinho told Sky Sports in July of 2015 while in his second stint as manager of Chelsea. “Either on loan or sold with an offer we are happy to accept. We have five wingers and it is better not to have Salah back.”
Continuing to pile on, Mourinho added in that same interview that he was hoping to spend the money from a sale on a defender. “I am looking for a defender to finish this balance in our squad and after that we are ready to answer anything that can happen to our players,” he said.
Sure enough, on June 30th, Chelsea loaned Mohamed Salah to Fiorentina, and turned around to purchase young defenders Michael Hector and Matt Miazga, both of whom are still with the club but have been sent out on loan a significant number of times. Then, the following summer, the Blues sold Salah to Roma permanently – albeit after Mourinho had left the club – and used that money to help bring David Luiz from PSG back to Stamford Bridge.
So do we believe 2015 Mourinho who insisted publicly that Salah’s future was not at Chelsea? Or do we believe 2018 Mourinho who insists it wasn’t his decision to make the sale? That’s for the you to decide.