As the popular idiom goes, ‘hindsights a bitch’ – but unfortunately in football management, foresight is one of your most valuable assets if you’re to become a successful coach.
The ability to predict an opponents tactics, foresee how a player will perform in a certain role… to be able to identify a future talent, these are the attributes that modern coaches are graded on and unfortunately Jose Mourinho failed Chelsea on all accounts.
There have been some major transfer mistakes at Chelsea over the past few years. Players, now established Premier League stars, were pushed out the door before they had the chance to develop.
It’s been a widely publicised criticism of Chelsea’s squad selection process, desperate for immediate success with no regard for the progressing of youth within their side.
It’s now become a repeatable game show formula for the blues, where the ending is always ‘and here’s what you could have won…’
Indeed Chelsea have missed out on over £100m worth of talent on account of their poor transfer market dealings, here are the major transfer mistakes made by Chelsea in recent times:
Kevin De Bruyne
Sold: January 18th 2014 – £18m
Current Value: £70m
Jose Mourinho was admittedly never a fan of the creative Belgian, highlighting issues with his attitude and work-rate as validation for keeping out of the side. De Bruyne was quickly snapped by Wolfsburg for the relatively large fee of £18million, but the German outfit were immediately rewarded as he went on to become the Bundesliga player of the season – setting a new record of 27 assists for one campaign. Mesut Ozil eat your heart out.
Manchester City paid something closer to the midfielder’s true value at £55m and De Bruyne has now catapulted City to new heights in Europe. Chelsea, now facing a season voice of Champions League football for the first time in 13 years, how they could have used a man of De Bruyne’s talents.
Sold: July 30th 2014 – £28m
Current Value: £65m
Yet another player that failed to fit the Mourinho mould… although it’s hard to see why. Lukaku encapsulates all ideal traits of a modern striker: pace, power, a goal-poacher’s instinct.
Bought from Anderlecht as a raw 18-year-old for a hefty £17m fee, Lukaku was immediately hailed as the new Didier Drogba. But Mourinho decreed that he would never make the grade at Chelsea.
Instead, the Portuguese coach preferred the toothless attacking options of Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o before signing Diego Costa the next summer. Lukaku was quickly snapped up by Everton, where he has become one of the Premier League’s most feared marksmen.
Sold: January 2nd 2013 – £12m
Current Value: £25m
If it wasn’t for the constant concerns about his fitness, Sturridge’s transfer value would be considerably more weighty. The 26-year-old was hailed as arguably England’s best striker during his stand-out season alongside Luis Suarez., scoring 24 goals to take Liverpool to the brink of the title in 2014.
Chelsea were all too willing to allow him to join Liverpool for a measly fee. Sturridge was never given the opportunity to develop under Mourinho and despite briefly earning a spot in the first team under Andre Villas-Boas, Sturridge was soon relegated to the substitutes’ bench, desperate to move on.
How the striker’s fortunes changed when he was given a regular run of matches at Anfield and very nearly repaid Brendan Rodgers’ faith with the ultimate prize. Sturridge’s value will only go up as the England international returns to full fitness and the loss Chelsea will have made on the striker will just keep growing and growing…
Sold: June 29th 2015 – £10m
Current Value: £20m
Courtois or Cech – a common footballing debate. Last season Courtois kept one of Chelsea’s true greats sitting on the sideline, this season Cech almost lead Arsenal to the title.
Abramovich gave the all clear for Mourinho to sell Cech to Arsenal last summer, finally investing in the youth of Thibaut Courtois as the new No 1, ironically, it almost backfired.
Courtois has endured a poor season, whilst Cech has proved to still a top quality goalkeeper and has revamped his value quickly in just one season – currently estimated to be worth double what Chelsea sold him for.