The summer of 2004 saw two earth-shattering appointments in the Premier League as Chelsea and Liverpool changed their plans.
The Blues sacked Claudio Ranieri after a second-place finish in Roman Abramovich’s debut season and instead went with Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho, having just won the Champions League with Porto, dropped into England like a bomb, grabbing every headline and leading Chelsea to back-to-back titles.
Liverpool hired a successful manager of their own – Rafa Benitez.
Gerard Houllier couldn’t get his team back on track and so the Reds turned to a manager who had led Valencia to two La Liga titles.
One year later, Liverpool were champions of Europe.
And yet, according to a new book, it was all incredibly close to being very, very different.
French journalist Nicolas Vilas’ new book ‘Mourinho: Behind the Special One, from the origin to the glory’ detailed how that ‘special one’ nearly went to Anfield.
Mourinho’s former special advisor, Jorge Baidek, detailed the events (per the Metro).
“Mourinho should have gone to Liverpool,” said Baidek. “Rick Parry [then chief executive] was in charge of transfers and we had an agreement. They asked us to wait for 15 days as Houllier was still the Reds’ manager.”
Liverpool didn’t want to disrespect Houllier, a hugely popular and successful figure at the club. In doing so, however, they left the door open to Chelsea.
Jorge Mendes hadn’t been involved with the Liverpool discussions but he alerted Chelsea and Mourinho to a possibility – and a more lucrative offer.
A couple of meetings with Abramovich later and Mourinho signed with the Blues instead, leaving Liverpool to look elsewhere.
Both clubs were happier with what they got, it’s safe to say, but we were just days away from a drastically different Premier League.
- Shearer & Wright rank PL’s best Euro imports
- How much Arsenal players will earn after wage cut
- Viral video calls on more respect or Gerrard