Kevin De Bruyne has revealed that Jose Mourinho stopped him from becoming a Borussia Dortmund player because the manager was frustrated about his inability to secure a Chelsea move for Robert Lewandowski.
The Belgian star, now plying his trade at Wolfsburg, spoke honestly with Sport Bild, as reported by Stephan Uersfeld of ESPNFC.com.
"Mourinho said no," De Bruyne responded when asked about his potential transfer to the Westfalenstadion.
The player was then questioned about suggestions that Mourinho was angry with CEO Aki Watzke after the Premier League team failed in their attempt to sign Lewandowski.
"That's what my agent also told me," said De Bruyne. "But that’s professional football. Where there is a lot of money involved, there will also be a lot of politics."
Was Jose Mourinho right to sell Kevin De Bruyne?
Dortmund were widely expected to challenge for De Bruyne's signature throughout January, per The Telegraph, but an ambitious Wolfsburg side snapped up the 22-year-old. The versatile youngster has played six times for the fifth-placed team, providing two assists, per WhoScored.com.
Despite Mourinho showing real confidence in De Bruyne at the beginning of the season—highlighted by his decision to start the player in a "false nine" role during August's 0-0 draw with Manchester United—he made just two starts and one substitute appearance in the Premier League. He failed to start a Champions League tie, coming off the bench three times for the Blues.
De Bruyne was dropped after the Old Trafford tie and eventually criticised in public by Mourinho, who questioned his work ethic in training. The player responded honestly, saying he has "nothing to hide," as reported by Dave Kidd of the Mirror:
I still don't know why I lost my place after the game against Manchester United. I've also never asked Mourinho. He has never told me: "Kevin, you don't train well."
So it's a pity he told it in a press conference that I wasn't doing well on the training pitch. That's not me. I'm always a player who gives the full 100 per cent in training. Those remarks created a wrong image.
Although Kidd's report stated that De Bruyne had "turned down" Dortmund during the winter transfer window, the player's comments now suggest he was never given the opportunity to represent Jurgen Klopp's side.
Will Chelsea regret not signing Robert Lewandowski?
The turning point appears to have been Lewandowski's agreement with Bayern Munich, which sees the Polish striker move to the Allianz Arena on a free in the summer. Mourinho is known to have coveted the prolific forward, per Hannah Duncan of Metro, but he ultimately saw any attempt to land the Bundesliga star fall flat.
De Bruyne's revelation gains extra momentum considering Mourinho's recent faux pas on French television, which saw Canal Plus air private criticism he made about Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba, his current strikers.
Mourinho privately said, "The problem with Chelsea is we lack a scorer," per Dominic Fifield of The Guardian. If he had his way, it's likely the Portuguese boss would have already found the man to remedy such a problem in the shape of Lewandowski.
The 25-year-old has scored 21 goals across the Bundesliga and Champions League this season, per WhoScored.com, highlighting his lack of transfer fee as one of football's all-time steals.
Mourinho will undoubtedly look to land a player of similar quality in the summer—perhaps Monaco's Radamel Falcao or Robin van Persie from United, per Paul Gorst of the Mirror—suggesting plenty of success awaits the Stamford Bridge club.
Considering Chelsea sit four points clear at the top of the English top flight, the chasing pack will be thankful Lewandowski opted to stay away from West London.