Jose Mourinho’s return to Chelsea last summer heralded a change in approach for the Blues. Rhetoric about building a dynasty and staying as long as the club wanted him abounded, and it was just what supporters wanted to hear.
A decade of unbridled success had been tempered by nearly annual managerial changes. The Roberto Di Matteo–Rafa Benitez debacle was just the icing on the dry fruitcake of frustration felt by supporters. Mourinho’s return was welcomed so enthusiastically because of the closure it brought.
Having presided over Chelsea’s first title-winning team for 50 years, Mourinho was guaranteed to have the backing of the Stamford Bridge faithful. However, a few significant events have cast doubt in the minds of even his most fervent supporters.
The sale of Juan Mata in January made both fiscal and footballing sense. Mata may have been back-to-back Player of the Year at Chelsea, but it was clear that his brand of beautiful football was not what Mourinho wants from his players. The Spaniard’s inability to chase down lost balls and make the tough tackles that are required by all-around players such as Eden Hazard and Oscar made him surplus to requirements under Mourinho.
That didn't stop the supporters from questioning The Special One. Mourinho player or not, Mata had been there for the fans through their greatest recent triumphs and had brought countless moments of wonder reminiscent of Gianfranco Zola. He was truly adored by the supporters, and plenty were left wishing they still had the playmaker instead of the £37 million fee he generated.
Still, they kept their faith in Mourinho, a luxury unlikely to have been afforded to any other manager.
Now, with the sale of David Luiz to Paris Saint-Germain for an arguably insane amount of money, per the Press Association, via The Guardian, the game has changed again.
Luiz quickly established himself as a cult hero at Stamford Bridge. His rendition of “Blue is the Colour” at the Champions League parade was amazing, and his performance in the final itself will never be forgotten.
Sure, he was prone to some pretty spectacular lapses in concentration, but he also had a positive influence on the biggest games the club have been involved in over the last three-and-a-half years. Luiz kept things interesting, and his personality had a massive impact on everybody involved with the day-to-day running of the club. Terry touted him as a future captain last summer, and few could argue that he would have fit the role perfectly.
The combined £87 million brought in by both players gives Chelsea an important boost as Financial Fair Play restrictions begin to be enforced. The trouble is that supporters don’t see their club as a business. For them, the profit and loss margins are assessed on the pitch. They understand the importance of generating revenue, but there is a consensus that a few other players should have gone before Mata and Luiz.
Other than running, Ramires offers very little most of the time. Should be a long distance runner in the Olympics, not a footballer. #CFC— David (@CFCsocial) December 26, 2013
@iamtarek Still can't believe it. I'd much rather we sell Torres and Mikel than him.— Dan Cooper (@danielwcooper) May 23, 2014
Mourinho will have to live up to his special moniker if he is to stop the tide of feeling from turning against him. The money from the sale of Luiz will have to be reinvested in a player who will provide instant results, bringing home at least one of the three major trophies available next season. If the 2014/15 season ends in more disappointment for the Blues, you can be sure it won’t just be Roman Abramovich looking for answers from the manager.