Jose Mourinho has denied suggestions he sanctioned the sale of Mohamed Salah during his time as Chelsea manager.
The Portuguese coach, who has been out of work since being sacked by Manchester United last month, insists he “fell in love” with Salah and pushed Chelsea to sign the Egyptian.
Who at Chelsea decided to sell Salah? Five key things to know…
- Salah joined Chelsea from Basel in January 2014 after impressing against multiple English sides in the Champions League.
- He made just 19 appearances for the Blues before being sent out on loan to Fiorentina and AS Roma, who bought him permanently in 2016.
- Mourinho says the decision to sell him was made by others at Chelsea.
- Marina Granovskaia is generally considered the west London clubs’ ‘transfer-fixer’.
- Michael Emenalo was Chelsea’s technical director at the time.
Mourinho was interviewed by Qatari TV broadcaster beIN Sports on Thursday, discussing a number of topics including his exit from Manchester United.
The 55-year-old was keen to bring up the criticism surrounding Salah’s exit from Chelsea and went onto speak highly of the Liverpool star.
“First of all let’s start with Salah. Because lots of things have been told which are not true,” Mourinho said.
“For a start, people try to identify me as the coach that sold Salah. I am the coach that bought Salah. It’s completely the wrong idea.
“I played against Basel in the Champions League. Salah was a kid at Basel. When I play against a certain team I analyse a team and players for quite a long time. And I fell in love with that kid. I bought the kid.
“I pushed the club to buy him and at the time we already had fantastic attacking players – Hazard, Willian, we had top talent there. But I told them to buy that kid. He was more a winger coming inside than a striker.
“He was just a lost kid in London. He was a lost kid in a new world. We wanted to work him, to become better and better and better. But he was more of the idea of wanting to play and not wait.
“So we decided to put him on loan, in a culture I knew well. Italy. Tactical football. Physical football. A good place to play. Fiorentina are a good team to play for without the pressure of playing for the title. And we decided that move there. When the club decided to sell him it was not me. I bought him, I did not sell him.”
Chelsea’s Salah loss is Liverpool’s gain
Salah has been a revelation since joining Liverpool in the summer of 2017, making Chelsea’s decision to sell him all the more difficult for the club’s fans to swallow.
In his first season at Anfield, Salah scored 44 goals in 52 appearances across all competitions. He also won the Premier League Golden Boot, finding the net 32 times.
An injury in last season’s Champions League final curtailed his World Cup, during which he scored just once for Egypt.
But Salah has gradually returned to form this term, bagging 17 goals in 30 matches so far.
Liverpool welcome Crystal Palace to Anfield in the Premier League this weekend, while Chelsea travel to Arsenal.