Jose Mourinho is one of the most respected and successful coaches of his era.
Regardless of what happens between now and the end of his career, he will still be remembered as one of the all-time great managers.
The 57-year-old has won league titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain. He’s also lifted the Champions League trophy with two different clubs.
Currently in charge of Tottenham and hoping to re-establish his status as one of the world’s elite coaches, Mourinho made three signings in January: Steven Bergwijn (£25 million from PSV Eindhoven), Giovani Lo Celso (£27.2 million from Real Betis following a loan move) and Gedson Fernandes (18-month loan from Benfica with an option to buy).
Three signings which, on paper at least, all look shrewd purchases.
Because they haven’t played much football for Spurs at the time of writing, we won’t include them in the following list.
We want to know just how good is Mourinho at spending big money in the transfer market.
All transfer fees are via Transfermarkt, while all the ratings are down to our opinion.
We’ll then tally up the score and divide by 25 to provide us with an average. Let’s begin…
25. Andre Schurrle | £19.8m
Transfer: Bayer Leverkusen to Chelsea, June 2013
It would be harsh to call Schurrle a flop, but the German winger was a little disappointing during his brief spell in England.
He scored 14 goals in 65 games for the Blues, including a hat-trick against Fulham. He also earned himself a Premier League winners’ medal despite moving to Wolfsburg halfway through the 2014-15 season.
24. Ricardo Quaresma | £22.1m
Transfer: FC Porto to Inter, August 2008
Mourinho failed to get the best out of his compatriot at the San Siro.
Quaresma was given an ‘award’ for the worst footballer in Serie A at the end of his debut campaign in Italy after scoring just one goal in 32 games for the Italian side.
“He is a great talent, but the joy I have at seeing the way Ibra works for and with the team I do not yet have with Quaresma,” Mourinho said months into Quaresma’s ill-fated spell. “He will have to learn, otherwise he won’t play, and I am sure he’ll change and become more tactically disciplined. He likes kicking the ball with the outside of his foot, but if you ask me about him in a few months’ time, we’ll be talking about a different Quaresma.”
Quaresma never changed and subsequently found himself at Besiktas at the start of the 2010-11 season.
23. Diego Milito | £22.5m
Transfer: Genoa to Inter Milan, June 2009
Diego Milito made a huge contribution during Inter’s treble-winning campaign, which was also the Argentine’s debut season at the San Siro.
He scored 30 goals in 52 games, including both goals in the 2010 Champions League final against Bayern Munich, earning himself the Man of the Match award in the process.
Milito went on to net a total of 75 goals in 171 games before leaving Inter for Argentine side Racing Club in 2014.
22. Nemanja Matic | £22.5m
Transfer: Benfica to Chelsea, January 2014
Winner of two Premier League titles during his second spell at Chelsea, Matic became one of English football’s best midfielders under Mourinho’s management.
Matic and Mourinho went on to reunite at Old Trafford – but more on that later…
21. Pedro | £24.3m
Transfer: Barcelona to Chelsea, August 2015
Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea several months after convincing Pedro to leave Barcelona, but the Spanish winger has been a fine player for the Blues over the past five years.
During that time, Pedro has helped Chelsea win the Premier League, FA Cup and Europa League.
20. Ricardo Carvalho | £27m
Transfer: FC Porto to Chelsea, July 2004
Chelsea got six years of incredible service from Ricardo Carvalho after Mourinho brought the Portuguese centre-back with him to Stamford Bridge from FC Porto.
A classy operator, Carvalho formed a rock-solid defensive partnership with John Terry and helped the club win three Premier League titles.
19. Fabio Coentrao | £27m
Transfer: Benfica to Real Madrid, July 2011
Fabio Coentrao looked incredibly good at Benfica, so it was no surprise when Real Madrid splashed £27 million on the left-back in the summer of 2011.
Unfortunately for him, though, he faced competition from Marcelo, who continued to get better and better each season.
Coentrao soon fell out of favour and ended up playing for AS Monaco and Sporting CP on loan before moving to Rio Ave in 2018. He announced his retirement in January 2020 aged just 31.
18. Juan Cuadrado | £27.9m
Transfer: Fiorentina to Chelsea, February 2015
We know that Juan Cuadrado is a top player – but, for whatever reason, things didn’t work out for the Colombia international in west London.
“He needs time,” Mourinho said of Cuadrado following a difficult start to life at Stamford Bridge. “I know Italy and I know the difference between Italy and England. His formation, his development, his experience – everything was in Italy. Stability, time, integration – I think we will see the best Cuadrado next year.”
We never did. Cuadrado made just 15 appearances for Chelsea before joining Juventus permanently in 2017.
17. Shaun Wright-Phillips | £28.3m
Transfer: Manchester City to Chelsea, June 2005
Twenty-eight million pounds was big money in 2005 – and Wright-Phillips failed to justify the hefty transfer fee.
He had his moments, scoring 10 goals in 125 games and winning the 2005-06 Premier League title, but was disappointing overall.
Chelsea fans can be forgiven if they expected a lot more from the diminutive winger, who returned to Manchester City in August 2008 for just £8.5 million.
16. Angel Di Maria | £29.7m
Transfer: Benfica to Real Madrid, June 2010
Real Madrid won the race to sign the hugely talented Angel Di Maria from Benfica in 2010 – and what a signing the Argentine proved to be.
Di Maria scored 36 goals in 194 games for Los Blancos and spent much of his last season playing – and shining – in an unfamiliar central midfield role under Carlo Ancelotti.
The South American won the Man of the Match award in the 2014 Champions League final before James Rodriguez’s arrival convinced him to leave Madrid for an ill-fated move to Manchester.
15. Cesc Fabregas | £29.7m
Transfer: Barcelona to Chelsea, June 2014
A controversial transfer, this one, for several reasons.
Nobody could have envisaged Fabregas teaming up with Mourinho at Stamford Bridge prior to this deal, but football is a funny old game.
The Spanish midfielder was a big hit at Stamford Bridge, where he won two Premier League winners’ medals.
14. Alexis Sanchez | £30.6m
Transfer: Arsenal to Manchester United, January 2018
Due to the fact he scored five goals in his 45 appearances for United, we’ve given Alexis Sanchez a generous 1/10 rating, rather than a big fat zero.
The Chilean has been a disastrous signing for the Red Devils, who are still paying a huge portion of his obscene £500,000-a-week wages now – despite the fact he’s trying to resurrect his career at Inter Milan.
13. Victor Lindelof | £31.5m
Transfer: Benfica to Manchester United, June 2017
Following a shaky start to life in the Premier League, Victor Lindelof found his feet and became one of United’s better central defenders.
The Swede has made over 100 appearances for the Red Devils.
12. Luka Modric | £31.5m
Transfer: Tottenham to Real Madrid, August 2012
Luka Modric found life tough – really tough – during his first season at Real Madrid. So tough that he was named La Liga’s worst signing midway through the 2012-13 campaign.
But the Croatian began to turn things around towards the end of Mourinho’s tenure at the Bernabeu and eventually became one of the club’s key players.
In 2018, Modric ended Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s duopoly of the Ballon d’Or by winning world football’s most coveted individual prize.
11. Eric Bailly | £34.2m
Transfer: Villarreal to Manchester United, June 2016
Injuries have sadly prevented Eric Bailly from becoming an outstanding signing for Man Utd.
The Ivorian centre-back has had some fantastic games for the Red Devils but spent far too on the treatment table.
10. Willian | £31.9m
Transfer: Anzhi Makhachkala to Chelsea, August 2013
Chelsea pipped Mourinho’s current employers, Tottenham, to the signing of Willian in 2013.
The Brazilian winger’s record speaks for itself: 59 goals in 329 games, two Premier League titles, one FA Cup, one League Cup and one Europa League.
Willian has been inconsistent at times during his spell in west London but, on the whole, he’s been a very good signing.
9. Michael Essien | £34.2m
Transfer: Lyon to Chelsea, August 2005
Michael Essien was an absolute force of nature during his first few years at Chelsea and won the Premier League title under Mourinho in 2006.
He then won it again in 2010, along with four FA Cups and the Champions League.
Chelsea fans will always remember the Ghanian midfielder fondly.
8. Diego Costa | £34.2m
Transfer: Atletico Madrid to Chelsea, June 2014
He may have been a loose cannon, but what a centre-forward.
Diego Costa won the league in his first season at Chelsea, scoring 20 goals in 26 games.
He went on to win another title with the Blues before his relationship with Antonio Conte deteriorated beyond repair, resulting in his return to Atletico in January 2018.
7. Didier Drogba | £34.6m
Transfer: Marseille to Chelsea, July 2004
One of the best players in Chelsea’s history – if not *the* best – Didier Drogba became a legend at Stamford Bridge.
One of football’s ultimate big-game players, the Ivorian striker scored 157 goals in 341 games for the Blues, winning four Premier Leagues, the same numbers of FA Cups and, of course, the Champions League.
6. Henrikh Mkhitaryan | £37.8m
Transfer: Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United, July 2016
Mkhitaryan produced some special moments at Old Trafford – including *that* astonishing scorpion kick goal against Sunderland – and won the Europa League in 2017.
But United fans expected so much more who’d scored goals and provided assists for fun at Borussia Dortmund.
He lasted just a season-and-a-half in Manchester before he was offloaded to Arsenal.
5. Andriy Shevchenko | £39.4m
Transfer: AC Milan to Chelsea, June 2006
One of the greatest strikers of his generation, Chelsea fans thought they’d hit the jackpot when it was announced that Andriy Shevchenko was on his way from AC Milan in 2006.
But the 2004 Ballon d’Or winner was a bitter disappointment in England, scoring 23 goals in 76 games for the Blues.
Mourinho’s most expensive signing for Chelsea was, unfortunately, a huge flop.
4. Nemanja Matic | £40.2m
Transfer: Chelsea to Manchester United, July 2017
There was a reason why Chelsea were prepared to allow Matic to join a direct rival – and that was because Chelsea believed they possessed better midfielders than the Serbia international.
Matic has blown hot and cold at Old Trafford. His best days are now firmly behind him.
On the whole, though, the 31-year-old has been a decent’ish signing for the Red Devils.
3. Fred | £53.1m
Transfer: Shakhtar Donetsk to Manchester United, June 2018
Following a woeful first season in Manchester, Fred has blossomed into a key player for United – albeit under the management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, rather than Mourinho.
United fans love the Brazilian midfielder, who will be hoping to continue proving that he deserves to play for one of the world’s biggest clubs when football finally resumes.
2. Romelu Lukaku | £76.2m
Transfer: Everton to Manchester United, July 2017
Was Romelu Lukaku a bad signing for Man Utd? No. Was some of the criticism directed at him during his spell at Old Trafford harsh? Without question.
That said, the Belgian striker was underwhelming and failed to convince United fans that he was good enough to lead the line for their team.
He’s now proving at Inter Milan that he is a top striker. Maybe he was just the wrong fit for Man Utd.
1. Paul Pogba | £94.5m
Transfer: Juventus to Manchester United, August 2016
If some of the criticism directed at Lukaku was harsh, then the criticism aimed towards Paul Pogba has bordered on disgraceful at times.
The Frenchman has produced some scintillating performances for Man Utd since returning to Old Trafford in the summer of 2016, but inconsistency and injuries have been a huge problem.
Some United fans wouldn’t be sad to see him leave the club this summer – but just as many supporters appreciate that, in terms of talent, Pogba is their best player by a distance.
So, what’s the average rating from Mourinho’s 25 most expensive signings?
Average rating: 6.1/10.
On the whole, then, we can say that Mourinho is very hit and miss when it comes to spending big money in the transfer market.
Daniel Levy beware: you might land a Didier Drogba, but you could just as easily end up with a Juan Cuadrado.
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