Jose Mourinho has made it clear that it was the decision of Chelsea – not him – to sell Mohamed Salah in 2015.
The Egyptian joined Chelsea from FC Basel in 2015 but struggled for regular game time under Mourinho and moved to Fiorentina on loan before eventually joining Roma on a permanent basis.
He joined Liverpool last summer and has enjoyed one of the finest individual seasons seen at the top level for some time (except for when he goes up against Ashley Young), netting a remarkable 43 times.
And Mourinho, speaking at a press conference ahead of Manchester United’s clash with Arsenal, was full of praise for the forward and insisted it was not his decision to let him leave Chelsea.
“It’s easier for you to say negative things about me and not positive things,” he said. “Everybody knows I bought Salah. I was at Chelsea, he was at Basel and I am responsible for the players I bring to the club and he came to the club in my period.”
“I was the person that obviously with Chelsea agreement -the board, the owner, people responsible for finance – but by the technical point of view I was the person who brought Salah to the country.
“We played against Basel, he played against me. Before I play matches, especially international matches, I spend a lot of time analysing the opposition I don’t know as well. I watch and I told the club to buy that fantastic young player. You know that but you prefer to say negative things and not the positive things – this is the reality.
“He was not playing a lot and that is my responsibility as a coach and we decided with him it was better to have a loan period to play to grow up to become stronger.
“Internally again with the board and technical director, we thought Italian football could be good for him to develop. He went to Fiorentina. After that I left and I am not responsible for the process.
“But just to end as I am not comfortable speaking about a Liverpool player. Credit to him, Jurgen, the team and I am very, very, very happy for him – that’s why we keep a good relation. He is a fantastic boy and he knows I have a great care for him and I’m really happy for the things that are happening for him. More than deserved.”
It does not fit any agenda to suggest that Mourinho, just maybe in this instance, was not responsible for dispensing with a player who goes on to impress a few years down the line. It is probably worth noting that Salah joined Roma permanently in the summer of 2016 – nearly nine months after Mourinho left Chelsea.
Even so, it is hardly a rarity for a manager to sell a player, perhaps not good enough at the time, and for them to improve over a number of years. Why, for example, does Sir Alex Ferguson not receive blame for selling Gerard Pique to Barcelona? What about Fleetwood Town selling Jamie Vardy?
Mourinho obviously deserves criticism at times. Everyone does. But to hit out at him for this is mere baseless slander.