There were some concerns amongst a section of fans and the media that Jose Mourinho’s return to Chelsea and the Premier League wasn’t living up to its billing. A few columnists had even gone so far as to re-brand the Portuguese manager as the ‘Boring One’ as opposed to his favored nickname, “The Special One”.
The majority of these statements were made while Mourinho was beginning to learn more about his new/old club and the players he had inherited following his six years away from Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea were preseason favorites for the title, but had been inconsistent and/or underperforming according to some experts. At times, Mourinho himself looked less enthusiastic during press conferences and appeared irritated with the constant speculation around his team selection and player performances. The manager had also distanced himself from any managerial confrontations. There were hints at ‘mind games’ being played, but there was no Mourinho masterstroke to speak of (such as labeling Arsene Wenger a “voyeur”).
It was almost as if Mourinho had adopted a Zen management style, a la the LA Lakers/Chicago Bulls former head coach Phil Jackson.
But, over the past month or so, Chelsea has played like the legitimate title contenders everyone first thought they would be. And with one transfer, ‘The Special One’ has resurfaced to stir the pot once again.
Juan Mata’s imminent transfer from Chelsea to Manchester United has sent huge waves throughout the Premier League. What started as a rumor a few days ago has swiftly moved towards one of the biggest January transfer window deals in history.
One transfer deal has upset a portion of Mourinho’s own supporters at Chelsea, galvanized a distraught Manchester United fanbase, while visibly irritating two of the Portuguese manager’s bigger league rivals.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was the first to voice his displeasure concerning the Mata deal. With Chelsea having already played Manchester United twice this season, the French tactician feels that it is unfair for a player to be allowed to switch teams at this point of the season.
“I just think you would want that everybody is on the same level. I can understand completely what Chelsea is doing. Maybe the rules should be a bit more adapted to more fairness. Maybe the transfer window should stop when everybody has played once. That happens in the rest of Europe.”
Today, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini echoed Wenger’s feelings:
“United are getting a very good player, but personally I do not agree that a transfer like this can happen in the middle of the season. I do not think a player should be allowed to go from one club to another in the same league in January.
“It is not correct at this stage of the season. Maybe Arsene Wenger had a correct reason, when he pointed out Chelsea have already played United home and away, but my argument is a more general one.
“I just feel that if a player has made more than five or six appearances for his club, then he cannot join another one in the same league at the midway point. I just think if a player plays for a club for more than half of the season, a club with money can take the best players from the other teams. The rules are the rules, so you play by them, but I just think they should change. I am not saying scrap the January window, just change it.”
With just one transfer, “The Special One” has unnerved two of the Premier League’s biggest title contenders.
Mourinho also used the Juan Mata transfer to once again propel himself into the global spotlight.
With the Mata transfer all but concluded yesterday, stories began to surface this morning that the deal wasn’t ‘completely’ done. Sky Sports were outside of Carrington reporting that there was a “delay” in the transfer, but they were expecting more news once Jose Mourinho held his Friday press conference.
Cue the spotlight.
Mourinho then used his press conference to announce to the world (or maybe just to Manchester United supporters) the news everyone knew already, that Juan Mata was on his way to Manchester. “We allowed Juan to travel and have a medical at Manchester United,” Mourinho said. “It’s a good move for Juan, it’s a good move for the Premier League, and the offer is the right offer.”
However, The Guardian later reported that contrary to what Mourinho said, that there are delays on Chelsea’s end and Mata’s medical won’t happen until this weekend.
The Chelsea manager also took the opportunity to respond to Wenger’s criticism of the transfer (he more than likely had not heard Pellegrini’s comments earlier in the day):
“Wenger complaining is normal, because he always does. It’s something that we know. When a player plays for a club on August 20 and two weeks later on September 5 plays against the same club with a different shirt, this is normal, because this is the market.
“We don’t do the market, we don’t do the rules, we have just to do according to the rules. If Wenger sells [Mesut] Özil to Man United in this moment I would be very happy because he sells a very important player. Normally he should be happy that Chelsea sold a player like Juan Mata, but this is a little bit his nature. When he says this is not fair, I think what is not fair is that his team always has the best days to play [getting more rest in between games].”
“The Special One” has officially returned.
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