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Is Mourinho playing a transfer masterstroke with Milan?

Chelsea’s recent business with AC Milan could potentially pay dividends later on in the pursuit of Stephan El Shaarawy and Mattia De Sciglio.

Jose Mourinho certainly has his loyalties, but above all is a master at playing situations to his advantage.

The Portuguese has never been shy to show his enduring affection for former club Inter, with whom he won an historic treble in the 2009-10 campaign before moving to Real Madrid.

His passion for the Nerazzurri has led him to spurn the idea of coaching elsewhere in Serie A, though in the past days he has been in close contact with rivals AC Milan.

As is well-documented, the Rossoneri have been in hot pursuit of Chelsea’s Marco van Ginkel and Fernando Torres, in desperate need of reinforcements before deadline day.

Mourinho, meanwhile, has been rather accommodating to Inter’s San Siro adversaries. Even as van Ginkel has personally rejected a move to Milan, Mourinho gave the Diavolo the green light to sign both the Dutchman and Torres with his blessing.

According to Sky Sport Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio, this is a calculated strategy from the Chelsea boss - seeing that a solid rapport with Milan could help bolster his squad in the coming years.

Mourinho is said to be especially keen on Mattia De Sciglio and Stephan El Shaarawy, two of Italy’s brightest young talents plying their trade with the Rossoneri.

The pair have drawn attention from other Premier League heavyweights in the past as well as Real Madrid. But Mourinho looks to be eyeing up an inside track to both.

Personal relationships between parties are key in conducting transfer business, something Mourinho knows well. He’s seemingly taken steps to get in the good graces of Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani via van Ginkel and Torres, hoping for a favour in return later on.

Should Chelsea decide to concretely pursue De Sciglio and El Shaarawy in the near future, the groundwork laid could well make for a smoother negotiation process.

Seeing a few steps ahead could in turn pay dividends for Mourinho. Cooperating with Milan might just lend Chelsea a crucial advantage in landing a pair of promising targets down the road.

A bit of guile foreseeably is enough to establish pole position for De Sciglio and El Shaarawy. Now, it will be fascinating to see how Mourinho plays the remainder of his hand as he weighs up if and when the two Italian starlets are ready for Stamford Bridge.

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