Jose Mourinho open up on why Chelsea sold De Bruyne and Salah

Jose Mourinho described Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah as “kids who did not want to wait” as he explained Chelsea’s decision to sell both players.

Chelsea signed De Bruyne from Genk for £7m in January 2012 but the Belgian midfielder would make just nine appearances, all of which came under Mourinho, before joining Wolfsburg for £18m two years later.

Five days after selling De Bruyne, Chelsea announced the £11m signing of Salah, but the Egyptian winger managed just 19 outings of his own under Mourinho before joining Roma permanently for £15m in the summer of 2016.

Both players ultimately made their way back to the Premier League, with De Bruyne joining Manchester City and Salah signing for Liverpool, and the duo have since earned reputations as two of the greatest players of their generation.

Asked how Chelsea let such a glut of talent slip through their fingers, Mourinho told The Obi One Podcast: “To be honest, they left because they wanted to leave. They left because they didn’t want to wait.

“History proves that their option was good because they’ve had the careers they have and reached a high standard, but sometimes kids make decisions like that because they can’t wait, or they don’t have the patience to be calm and to wait for the right moment. Sometimes their career goes in the wrong direction.”

Mourinho went on to reject suggestions he gave up on the two players and claimed he tried to keep both Salah and De Bruyne at Chelsea.

Beginning with Salah, Mourinho said: “When people say I let Salah go, I say exactly the opposite. I bought Salah. I was the one who said ‘buy that guy’. He was going from Basel to Liverpool, and I made a fight, I made a war, to make him come to Chelsea.

“Then comes the part when, to be a Chelsea player, you have to perform, or you need to wait. He didn’t want to wait, he wanted to go on loan. And then Chelsea, at a certain point, decided to sell. He went to Fiorentina and Roma, and that was not me deciding to sell. I was saying let him go on loan if he feels he needs to play every minute of every game.”

The former Chelsea boss continued: “With Kevin, it was very similar. We went to pre-season in Asia. We went to Indonesia, Thailand, and Kevin was due to go on loan to a German side.

“I told the club no, I don’t want him out on loan, I want him with me. He stayed with me, and he began the Premier League season playing in the starting XI. After that, we played the European Super Cup in Prague against Bayern and he didn’t play that game. Then, the next day, he wants to leave.

“We played the second Premier League game of the season against Manchester United at Old Trafford and we drew 0-0. He was on the bench and he played some minutes, but it wasn’t enough for him, so he wanted to leave.

“When you are at Chelsea and you want to leave, go and another one comes. They were just kids who couldn’t wait, and their careers say they were right, but it wasn’t down to me. Probably other guys will say I pushed them out, but not them.”

What we know

  • De Bruyne joined Chelsea in 2012 but was sold in 2014
  • Blues signed Salah in 2014 before selling Egyptian winger two years later
  • Both players are now heralded as two of the best in the world.

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