My tribe
As featured on NewsNow: Football news

Lukaku CARNAGE: How Mourinho left Chelsea, Real Madrid, all of 'em shattered

COMMENT: It's devastation. Carnage. In England and across Europe. Over the last 24 hours, Jose Mourinho has left a trail destruction in his wake.

From London to Liverpool - and in Madrid - they're stunned. And the fallout will only grow over the coming weeks.

Not since August 17, 2012 has Manchester United enjoyed such a red letter day in the transfer market. Five years ago it was Sir Ferguson and Robin van Persie, stunning Arsenal, Arsene Wenger and the Premier League with the Dutchman's move to Old Trafford. But Thursday's news runs deeper. Romelu Lukaku's decision to join United has not only rocked English football - the tremors are being felt all the way to Spain.

In London, at Chelsea, Lukaku's decision to turn his back on a return and commit to Mourinho has left the champions reeling. This wasn't supposed to happen. The plan was: shift out Diego Costa and bring in the Everton striker. Smooth. Simple. The stuff of champions. Antonio Conte can whine all he wants to his Italian friends, Chelsea's higher ups would claim, the moaning will end once Lukaku is through the door.

But what now for Chelsea? That new contract of Conte's remains just a thought. The Italian's doubts about their approach to the transfer market now reinforced. Willy Caballero on a free from Manchester City isn't going to change Conte's mind about the front office.

Mourinho and Lukaku? It was never going to happen, they claimed. It was Mourinho who'd stalled Lukaku's career at Cobham. The Belgian had a grudge against his old Chelsea manager. It was Mourinho who held him back. A reunion at Old Trafford? No way. Zero chance.

But now? It's back to square one. Where Mourinho and United had Alvaro Morata, of Real Madrid, as an alternative, Chelsea have no-one. They didn't see this coming. They'll have to start again. Only this time, there'll be no emotional attachment to the club. If Michael Emenalo and Marina Granovskaia couldn't convince Lukaku, for all his ties to Chelsea, then what chance of finding a like-for-like alternative?

And what of Morata? It's tough on the lad. But not Mourinho, nor United, will be blamed. That'll lay squarely at the door of Florentino Perez, the Real Madrid president.

United, via Ed Woodward, the club's vice-chairman exec, had tabled their final offer on the weekend: €75 million. Even at that price, the feeling among intermediaries was that United were paying over the odds.

But Florentino held firm. He was insistent. €80 million or bust. Even the pleas of Morata's father Alfonso and his agent Juanma Lopez on Monday at the Santiago Bernabeu were ignored. Florentino would not budge. He wanted that extra €5 million, convinced Mourinho was pressuring Woodward to cave in.

But now? Well, now Real are left with a furious player. A player who has seen his father snubbed. A player who, himself, cut short his honeymoon in an effort to push the move through. And a player who was fully expecting to be out of the club before day one of preseason training.

Florentino believed he held all the cards. But he's just been played like a fiddle. No other club will come close to the €75 million he turned down for Morata last weekend - particularly knowing how toxic the relationship is now.

And what of Everton? A record £75 million is now due. Great business. But the deal has also left some angry, particularly Ronald Koeman, the Toffees manager.

The Dutchman was expecting Lukaku for training on Thursday. As much as Chelsea were taken aback by the deal, so was Koeman. It appears communication lines aren't quite as open between Finch Farm and the boardroom as we'd expect. Perhaps it's just a blip, but the frustration for Koeman could linger. It's the sort of thread Mourinho loves to pull on. Today's reports of Koeman being left in the dark over the sale won't be lost on the United manager.

And if anyone is in doubt about who's in charge at Old Trafford, this deal shuts that down. Ferguson has his legacy. All 27 years. But that's it. His influence on the workings of the club are over.

For in the week it emerged the Scot - again - was spitefully mocking Mino Raiola, branding him a "s***bag", Mourinho was using his relationship with the Italian to grab Lukaku from under Chelsea's nose.

As Chelsea dithered, it was Raiola who tipped off Mourinho about the situation. That call was made on Monday - just hours after United had tabled their bid for Morata. Raiola knew Everton's asking price and the games Chelsea were playing. So he threw a bone to Mourinho. And the United manager bit.

Within 48 hours, Everton and United had agreed a fee and Lukaku, after marathon talks with Raiola, was persuaded to choose Manchester over London as his next destination.

Without Raiola's support, without Mourinho developing this relationship, Lukaku and United would never have come close. Ferguson has been a good sounding board for Mourinho, but he did the club and manager no favours with his public utterances this week. Fortunately, for United, Raiola and Mourinho are rock solid.

The swagger. The spite. It's back. This is Mourinho's Manchester United. In 24 hours, he's left the English champions reeling and the Champions League holders stunned.

And United fans have their new No9. Something that only their current manager could achieve.

Chris Beattie
About the author

Chris Beattie

Have your say
  • Add your favourite leagues and clubs
  • Build your own personal news stream
  • Easily share your favourite stories
  • Connect with what your friends are saying

Select your favourite
leagues and clubs
to get started.

Already part of MyTribe?