Jose Mourinho sold both Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne whilst manager of Chelsea
When you manage the likes of Chelsea, Real Madrid and Inter Milan, you're going to be dealing with top class talent, and that is exactly what Jose Mourinho has done throughout virtually his entire managerial career. Having won 25 trophies in less than 20 years as a manager, Jose is clearly doing something right.
That being said, he has sometimes been accused of letting some seriously talented players slip through the net, and failing to recognise certain players abilities, particularly when it comes to young players. Here are our 7 best players sold by Jose Mourinho:
7. Mohamed Salah
Egyptian winger Mo Salah put in a handful of exhilarating performances against Chelsea before the Blues eventually signed him in January of 2014. In the end, he played about the same number of games for Chelsea as he had played against them, with Mourinho shipping him out twice on-loan and eventually selling him to Roma in a deal worth around £15 million. 12 months and 19 goals later he became Liverpool's record signing, heading to Anfield in a deal that could be worth as much as £43 million. Salah has made a magnificent start to life on the Mersey, scoring 6 goals in 9 games.
6. Juan Mata
Like with a number of players Jose Mourinho has sold, he has ended up managing Juan Mata once more at Manchester United. The likeable Spaniard was controversially deemed expendable by Mourinho, having been Chelsea's best player for the last two seasons as they won the Champions League and the Europa League. Jose preferred Brazilian's Oscar and Willian and their superior work rate though, and off Mata went to Manchester United for £37 million. The duo have since been re-united at Old Trafford, with Mata making 42 appearances and scoring 10 goals last season.
5. Arjen Robben
Without doubt one of the greatest players to have been sold by Jose Mourinho, Arjen Robben is an exceptional footballer. Injuries have thwarted some of the impact that he ought to have had on football, but he still has a remarkable goal scoring record for a winger and is simply unstoppable on his day. Mourinho signed Robben for Chelsea in 2004, but sold him to Real Madrid for £24 million after three years. After two years in the Spanish capital, the Dutchman headed to Bayern Munich, where he has won 13 trophies and remains to this day.
4. Romelu Lukaku
Following two terrific loan spells at West Bromwich Albion and Everton, Romelu Lukaku was hardly the best kept secret in football, and it seemed to all the world that he had a huge future ahead of him. Mourinho only wanted to play one centre-forward at Chelsea though, and that man was Diego Costa - so he sold Lukaku to Everton for £28 million. Low and behold, the Belgian kept scoring goals and only got better. Three years later and without Diego Costa, Jose wanted Lukaku back, this time at Manchester United, and the Red Devils forked out £75 million (which could rise to £90 million) for the 24-year-old goal-getter.
3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
When Barcelona came calling for Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2009, Jose Mourinho wanted to keep his star man, but with Zlatan keen on a move to the Camp Nou, Jose made the best of a bad situation. He got a reported £59 million for the departing Swede, as well as securing the services of Samuel Eto'o. Eto'o helped Inter win a historic treble the following season, so it's fair to say the move worked out well for Mourinho, but Zlatan is still a world class footballer and deserves his place in this seven. As with Mata and Lukaku, Ibrahimovic is now back working with Jose at Manchester United, where the Swede is looking to get back to full fitness.
2. Leonardo Bonucci
Unlike in the case of Zlatan, Jose really dropped a ball when he sold Leonardo Bonucci to Genoa for just a few million pounds in 2009. Deemed expendable by Mourinho, the centre-back has gone on to become one of the finest defenders in world football. He formed a formidable back three alongside Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli at Juventus up until his departure for AC Milan in the summer, and won six Serie A titles and reached two Champions League finals with the Italian giants.
1. Kevin De Bruyne
Our pick for top spot is a player we're a big fan of, Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian was signed by Chelsea under AVB in January 2012, and played just three league games in two years at Stamford Bridge. Following a highly impressive loan spell at Werder Bremen, Mourinho sold De Bruyne to Wolfsburg in 2014 for £18 million. De Bruyne lit up the Bundesliga, with 16 goals and 20 assists, being named the Bundesliga Player of the Year.
Manchester City snapped him up for £55 million, just 12 months after Jose had let him go, and he has continued his rich vein of form in the Premier League. He scored 16 goals in his first season at the Etihad and topped the Premier League assist charts in his second. Jose obviously misjudged De Bruyne, and now he'll just be hoping it is him and the red side of Manchester and not De Bruyne and the blue side that get their hands on the Premier League title this season.