Jose Mourinho may be called “The Happy One” nowadays but one thing is for certain. The landscape of the English Premier League has changed drastically since he graced it nearly seven years ago.
The Premier League is the most-watched football league in the world, broadcast in 212 territories to 643 million homes and a potential TV audience of 4.7 billion people. The gap between the big clubs and the smaller ones has shrunk to the point of obsolescence.
Seven years ago, transfers like Ricky van Wolfswinkel to Norwich City, Victor Wanyama & Pablo Osvaldo to Southampton or Wilfried Bony to Swansea City probably wouldn’t have happened.
There aren’t any sure fire results anymore. Each game is contested with the same fervour and energy as the last game. History and reputation is a thing of the past i.e. every game is there to be won unlike in the past. Basically the Premier League has become much more competitive and hence more formidable.
The situation was much less complex the last time Mourinho was on English soil. The beginning of the Roman Abramovich era coincided with the arrival of the Portuguese manager.
This made Chelsea the first of the modern super-rich clubs which allowed him to get any players he wanted with little or no competition at all, players like Didier Drogba who played a pivotal role in the success of the club.
Coming back to the present day, we can see that the situation has changed radically. With the materialisation of new super-rich clubs and emergence of leagues like the Bundesliga the player market has never been this competitive as seen with the failed pursuits of Radamel Falcao and Edinson Cavani, both of whom rejected the Premier League to play in France's Ligue 1.
When he first signed for Chelsea he was coming fresh off his successes in Portugal with Porto. Now coming off his worst season in his managerial career one has to question some of his odd choices.
He risks alienating one of his best players in Juan Mata just like he did at Real Madrid with Iker Casillas among others. Romelu Lukaku is another player who, despite having a great last season with West Bromwich Albion, was mysteriously loaned out at a time when there is a scarcity of goals.
There has been a spout of unnecessary signings like Willian and Samuel Eto’o when Mourinho already had proven players of Premier League calibre within the squad.
So is “The Happy One” losing it or are these eccentric moves of genius. Only time will tell.
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