Manchester United manager José Mourinho has spent around £300million since taking over at Old Trafford a year and a half ago, but the Red Devils boss claims it is “not enough” for him to compete with rivals Manchester City.
With that in mind, we’ve taken a look back at every player that Mourinho has spent £25million or more on throughout his entire managerial career, to see whether the man often derided as a mere “chequebook manager” has a track record of success with big-money deals. We haven’t judged the players this summer yet as we feel it’s too early to judge.
Andriy Shevchenko – AC Milan to Chelsea, 2006 – £30million
In a headline-grabbing move which seemed to signal their arrival among the European super clubs, Chelsea’s capture of AC Milan legend Andriy Shevchenko was the fantasy signing many Blues fans dreamed of.
But a record of just nine league goals in 48 league appearances demonstrates how much Shevchenko underwhelmed during his three years at Stamford Bridge.
The transfer turned out to be an abject failure, but Mourinho gets somewhat of a pass for this one as it has since been widely reported that he never wanted the Ukranian star, and that it was Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich who pushed through the signing of Shevchenko.
Ángel Di María – Benfica to Real Madrid, 2009 – £29.9million
The biggest signing of Mourinho’s first season at the helm of Real Madrid, Ángel Di María thrilled and frustrated in equal measure during his initial couple of campaigns at the Santiago Bernabéu.
There have never been any doubts over the Argentinian’s talent, though.
Di María found his groove in Madrid the season after Mourinho’s departure when he was moved away from his position on the right wing into a deeper midfield role, putting in a man of the match display in Los Blancos’ 2014 Champions League final victory over Atlético Madrid.
Fábio Coentrão – Benfica to Real Madrid, 2010 – £25.5million
Given the fee that Madrid paid to sign him from Benfica in 2010, Portuguese left-back Fábio Coentrão will go down as as one of the worst signings in Real Madrid’s history.
Initially sharing game time with fellow full-back Marcelo, Coentrão even started the 2014 Champions League final.
However, he has never fully convinced at the Bernabéu, and having spent last season out on loan with Monaco, it seems as though the player’s hefty wage packet is the only thing preventing Los Blancos from being able to move him on permanently.
Coentrão even recently admitted that he is not cut out for life at one of the world’s biggest clubs.
“I’m in no condition to play for Real Madrid,” he told Marca. “We should all admit our limitations at some point in our lives and I feel that, right now, this club demands a level of play I’m not at.”
Luka Modrić – Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid, 2011 – £30million
Like Di María, Modrić took a little time to settle into life at Real Madrid following his £30million move from Tottenham Hotspur, but he has since gone on to establish himself as arguably the finest central midfielder in the world.
A key player in two Champions League successes, Modrić is regarded as one of Madrid’s most successful signings in recent memory.
Willian – Shakhtar Donetsk to Chelsea, 2013 – £30million
Stolen from under the nose of Spurs, where the Brazilian was on his way to completing a medical before the Blues stepped in, Chelsea’s signing of Willian from Shakhtar has proven so successful that Mourinho has been linked with a move to take him to Old Trafford.
Willian played a vital role in Chelsea’s 2014/15 title win and was far and away their brightest spark in 2015/16’s dismal mid-table finish.
Cesc Fàbregas – Barcelona to Chelsea, 2014 – £27million
Former Arsenal playmaker Cesc Fàbregas led the Premier League in assists in 2014/15 and has produced a string of stellar cameos this term.
Chelsea had to fend off rival interest from United to sign Fábregas from Barcelona three years ago, and the Spaniard produced some of the best football of his career in his first season with the Blues under Mourinho.
Diego Costa – Atlético Madrid to Chelsea, 2014 – £32million
Signed in the same summer as Fàbregas, Diego Costa’s arrival from Atlético Madrid was one of the main catalysts behind Chelsea capturing a fourth Premier League title.
Despite a falling out with Antonio Conte, Costa is widely regarded as one of the very best strikers in world football, and will want to prove that when he joins Atleti in January.
Juan Cuadrado – Fiorentina to Chelsea, 2015 – £26.8million
Juan Cuadrado, an expensive January purchase from Fiorentina in 2015, is one of the most bizarre Chelsea signings of the Premier League era.
With just 13 league games under his belt for the Blues, the Colombian winger spent a couple of seasons on loan with Juventus, where he was largely excellent, before joining permanently last summer.
Eric Bailly – Villarreal to Manchester United, 2016 – £30million
A relative unknown in England before his arrival in the summer of 2016, Eric Bailly has quickly established himself as one of the most powerful and athletic young centre-backs in Europe.
Eyebrows were raised when the Red Devils stumped up £30million to acquire the Ivory Coast international, but he was as one of the signings of last season.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United, 2016 – £26million
It’s been a strange season for Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Voted the best player in the Bundesliga last season, expectations were high when the Armenian rocked up at Old Trafford.
But Mourinho decided that the 28-year-old wasn’t physically ready for the rigours of the Premier League, and excluded him from the squad for several months.
While he become a regular starter towards the end of last season, Mkhitaryan has been dropped once again and could be shown the door.
Paul Pogba – Juventus to Manchester United, 2016 – £89million
United made Paul Pogba the world’s most expensive footballer when they paid £89million to resign the French international from Juventus in 2016, in a move which demonstrated the 20-times champions’ pulling power and financial might, despite being out of the Champions League.
With Manchester United having a hugely worse record without the Frenchman in the team, it’s clear just how important he’s become to Mourinho.