Did Jose Mourinho Flunk Chelsea's 2013-14 Summer Transfer Window?
The dust has settled after a frenetic transfer deadline day, and the more you analyse Chelsea's business, the less impressive it seems.
Jose Mourinho completed a return to Stamford Bridge amid much fanfare in June, with the fans hailing Roman Abramovich for burying the hatchet and looking forward to a glorious, exciting and, above all, stable season in charge.
Great things were expected, and despite good early results against Hull City, Aston Villa and Manchester United—in addition to taking Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich all the way to penalties in the UEFA Super Cup—many are underwhelmed.
The transfer business done, on the whole, was disappointing.
Now make no mistake, this squad is stacked: The Blues entered the summer only in need of leadership, boasting immense quality in great numbers. Quality additions weren't a total necessity, but that's not the source of the questioning.
Poor decision-making, particularly in the final days of the transfer window, had many scratching their heads.
First in the door was Andre Schuerrle, an explosive wide forward signed from Bayer Leverkusen for £18 million. The thought of him lining up opposite Eden Hazard either side of a central striker was truly enthralling.
Next came Marco van Ginkel, a star last season at Vitesse Arnhem, and the man widely believed to become Frank Lampard's like-for-like replacement. Is he ready yet, how much playing time will he receive, and how far down the pecking order does he stand?
At the very least they added extreme depth, but questions abounded on the subject of squad harmony soon after: How does Mou keep so many first-team-calibre players happy?
Stealing Willian from Spurs, a player who plays from the left wing or in the No. 10 role, for €30 million was an astonishing move and felt like a power play more than anything else. The addition of Samuel Eto'o crowded the front line, and that was the transfer that caused the most anguish from the fans.
|Player||Favoured Position||Other Positions|
|Eden Hazard||AMC||LW, RW|
|Juan Mata||AMC||LW, RW|
|Oscar||AMC||LW, RW, MC|
|Andre Schuerrle||LW||RW, ST|
|Kevin De Bruyne||AMC||LW, RW|
|Marco van Ginkel||MC||AMC, DM|
Squad list from UEFA.com
Romelu Lukaku, the man Chelsea fans were so looking forward to seeing dominate defences in the blue at Stamford Bridge, was loaned to Everton in the final 30 minutes of the transfer window as a result.
That was the straw that broke the camel's back.
Of the four strikers on the books, Lukaku was the fans' favourite. Many were asking why he hadn't been given a start in Chelsea's opening three fixtures, and it simply transpired that Mou doesn't trust him as yet.
Despite being the exact mould of forward Mourinho just loves to hang his hat on, the Belgian was dished out for the season in favour of Samuel Eto'o, and while the Cameroon international boasts undoubted pedigree, it's tough to work out what shape he's in.
The less said about Demba Ba the better, while Fernando Torres is...well, Fernando Torres.
Blues fans wanted Ba or Torres gone on deadline day, not Lukaku, but instead the inexplicable occurred. While the Belgian isn't going to lead a Premier League-winning line at the age of 20, he's the second-best—if not best—hitman on the roster.
Eto'o was bought for that reason, and it's difficult to understand why the two couldn't rotate in and out.
Rejecting a loan bid for van Ginkel's services could also turn out to be a mistake, as the Dutchman has barely featured so far in a World Cup year.
The fervour, the hoopla, the mass excitement has died. Right now, a large chunk of football aficionados are looking at Mourinho's first summer with an eyebrow cocked in confusion.
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