Football Comment: Mourinho arms his rivals’ rivals with loan stars

Trevor Steven
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THE £30m signing of attacker Willian aside, it was not the players who arrived at Chelsea during the transfer window so much as the ones that they allowed to leave that interested me most.

Of those who came in, the big-haired Brazilian is the most exciting and, I’m sure, eased Jose Mourinho’s hunger to lure Wayne Rooney from Manchester United. Samuel Eto’o will add depth but doesn’t improve the quality of a squad that has probably got enough.

But it’s intriguing to consider why Mourinho agreed to let striker Romelu Lukaku and winger Victor Moses leave on loan, and why they might have ended up at the clubs they did.

Both are very dangerous players who will make Everton and Liverpool respectively more dangerous teams to play. Coincidentally, both are clubs that are pushing the top four and – on a good day, with this extra firepower – could take points from Chelsea’s direct competitors.

In other words, Mourinho has bolstered teams who can bring down his rivals. It can’t hurt the Blues as I’d be stunned if the loan contracts allowed for Lukaku or Moses to play against their parent team. It’s like Mourinho’s own game of chess; a very cute move.

Of those rivals, Arsenal did brilliant business in signing Mesut Ozil. He isn’t the centre-forward they needed but his record for producing game-changing moments is terrific. It should get fans excited and make them believe their club are not just about the business plan.

While they prioritised quality over quantity, Tottenham used the Gareth Bale money to bring in several players, many of whom play in the same position. While I’m not sure about all of them there is no shortage of talent; the question is how to accommodate them. Until they have settled, the jury is out on their window.

Finally, the fortunes of the Manchester clubs could barely have been more different. City recruited good players – Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas, Fernandinho, Stevan Jovetic – and got them in early. United held onto Rooney, which could be huge for them, but were otherwise very poor. Marouane Fellaini, their only signing, has Premier League pedigree but nothing higher and is not a proven winner.

Trevor Steven is a former England footballer who now works as a media commentator.