New Chelsea signing Willian glossed over José Mourinho's history of pushing for extravagant but flawed footballers such as Shaun Wright-Phillips and Ricardo Quaresma, only to ruthlessly relegate them to irrelevance.
Mourinho has denied his former protege André Villas-Boas, who admitted to a rift between the two last August, from completing a world-class front three.
Villas-Boas planned on combining Willian with Erik Lamela—expected to sign for Spurs per Simon Johnson of the Evening Standard—and Roberto Soldado, who's scored in consecutive league games, to fill the void left by Gareth Bale should he finally complete his transfer to Real Madrid.
There was no public objection from Mourinho, because there's an expedient reason to secure Willian's signature: The signing will weaken a rival.
This was the same scenario in 2005 with Shaun Wright-Phillips.
|Wright-Phillips (05-06)||Duff, J. Cole, Robben|
|Willian (13-14)||De Bruyne, Hazard, Mata, Moses, Schürrle|
Wright-Phillips was a transfer target for Arsène Wenger, with Arsenal finishing second behind Chelsea during the Blues' triumphant 2004-05 Premier League season.
"I like him [Wright-Phillips] but we are in a market where you let Chelsea make decisions and then come in after," Wenger said, via BBC Sport. "That is why we have to wait until they decide."
Moving to Chelsea was the reason Wright-Phillips' career slumped.
He was behind Arjen Robben, Damien Duff and Joe Cole in Mourinho's eyes and spent the season on the periphery, only playing 29 percent of the club's total league minutes.
Former Arsenal legend Ian Wright defended his stepson's inconsistent displays by lambasting Mourinho.
"Chelsea paid £21 million for Shaun and he has not completed 90 minutes yet," Wright said, via BBC Sport. "Maybe he should look at other options because it's obvious the manager doesn't fancy him."
One of Wright-Phillips' lowest points would have been when he and Cole were subbed out after 26 minutes against Fulham in one of Mourinho's "look at me" moments.
"I was watching minute after minute with no reaction from the team and we needed a change," Mourinho said, via BBC Sport. "Joe and Shaun did not have a happy game."
Mourinho abandoned Wright-Phillips that game.
Well, Quaresma felt abandoned throughout his Inter Milan career.
"My happiness and self-confidence were taken away from me," Quaresma said, from Publico via Football Italia. "I felt on the margins of the squad and woke up crying when I had to attend training sessions."
Quaresma added: "My biggest regret was joining Inter."
Here's what he should have said: I put my trust in Mourinho, who promptly wrecked my career.
What was so bizarre about Mourinho's unwillingness to give Quaresma leeway was the effort it took to persuade Inter Milan owner Massimo Moratti to fund the transfer, via Paolo Menicucci at The Guardian:
Mourinho wants the Porto winger Ricardo Quaresma, a signing a sceptical Moratti says is "extremely unlikely".
"I respect their opinion on Quaresma, but mine is different," said Mourinho. "His pace, his quality, his dribbling could be very useful and I have been saying this for months."
"We don't need Quaresma," countered Morrati.
Quaresma was left on the outside looking in, something Willian will have to get used to at Stamford Bridge.
I hate when people say Mourinho is untouchable. He's made some huge mistakes. Anyone remember his Mancini-Ibra-Quaresma trio?— Matteo Bonetti (@TheMilanGuy) August 24, 2010
André Schürrle, Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Kevin De Bruyne and Victor Moses are all reasons why Willian's chances of starting are low. And don't forget about Bertrand Traoré, who turns 18 in 11 days' time and will sign a contract with the Blues.
"Perform now or take a back seat from playing" is Mourinho's mantra.
Wright-Phillips and Quaresma fell to the wayside because they became obstacles in Mourinho's quest to win. Their demise under Mourinho should be a red flag for Willian if he cares about maximising his ability.
Signing with Anzhi Makhachkala and reducing himself to a role player at Chelsea are A+ moves from a financial point of view, but from a playing perspective, he's ruining his career.