In Retrospect: How Does Alexis Sanchez Compare to Jose Mourinho’s Most Ruthless Signed Strikers?
In what has become one of the most famous transfer swaps in English football, Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho succeeded yet again, in securing the services of one of the most sought-after forwards in the game.
There’s no doubt Alexis Sanchez is unlike Henrikh Mkhitaryan, at the peak of his powers as we speak, but how does El Nino Maravilla compare to some of Jose’s most reliable attackers in the years past?
Vanderlei Fernandes Silva
You are probably scratching your head, combing through your soccer memory to remember who exactly this striker was and how significant he was to Jose Mourinho’s success as a manager.
Remember Mourinho’s glory days at FC Porto? The successive triumphs in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League? there was a certain DERLEI who terrorized defenses on Jose’s behalf.
After bursting onto the scene in 2002 with 21 goals for Jose Mourinho’s UD Leira, the Brazilian striker packed his bags and joined his boss in his quest to transform FC Porto from mediocre, to chronic champions.
Derlei was again instrumental in Mourinho’s managerial conquests, finishing as top scorer in the the 2002/03 UEFA Cup campaign as the Dragons ran out Champions after defeating Scottish side Celtic.
In the season that followed, it was business as usual, FC Porto won the Champions league and a campaign of clinical finishing for Derlei and Benni McCarthy ensured the goals were never in short supply.
Benedict Saul McCarthy
The former Bafana Bafana striker is still today rated as one of the most lethal forwards in his prime, are you wondering why Jose Mourinho put so much faith in him?
In case you’re not familiar with Benni McCarthy’s story, the 40-year-old was loaned to Porto from Celta in 2002 after two disappointing seasons at Galacia under Spanish tactician Victor Fernandez Braulio
Jose Mourinho had just been appointed head coach at the Dragao and with the Portuguese in need of a reliable goalscorer, the Cape-town local cleared all doubts, netting 12 goals in 11 appearances that season as the Dragons booked automatic qualification to the UEFA cup.
Although McCarthy returned to Celta for the whole of the 2003/2004 campaign, the South African would again work with Jose Mourinho in a career-defining season for both player and Manager.
McCarthy showed why he was ‘triple A’ rated, scoring 20 goals in 23 appearances as the Dragons lifted the Primeira Liga that season, but if the fans thought they had seen it all, then they were wrong.
En route Jose Mourinho’s first Champions League triumph as manager, McCarthy’s double was instrumental as the Portuguese champions dumped Manchester United out of the competition in the Last-16.
He was signed for, well £3.15m.
Everything about the Spaniard reflects what Jose Mourinho wants in a striker; A little bit old fashioned, a bully, troublesome, extremely physical, hardworking, and always on hand to punish opponents when they doze off, sound familiar?
Diego Da Silva Costa joined Chelsea in the second season of Jose Mourinho’s return to Stamford bridge, but unlike Benny McCarthy, he was arriving as the best striker in Spain, and on the back of an impressive Champions League campaign in which he helped eliminate the blues in the Semi-Finals.
The Brazilian forward would make up for his transgressions though, scoring 20 goals in his debut season as Jose Mourinho picked up his third Premier League trophy with Chelsea.
Diego Costa was phenomenal in his first and last season in England, the latter which was instrumental as Antonio Conte won the league in his debut season as Chelsea manager, but it is Jose Mourinho who will be remembered as the man who brought the beast to Stamford bridge.
Diego Alberto Milito
Between 2003 and 2009, Diego Milito scored a combined total of 110 goals in 198 appearances for Genoa and Zaragoza, but 24 of those came in his final season at Genoa, placing him behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 2008/09 race for Capocannonieri.
Are you beginning to understand why Jose Mourinho, Inter Milan manager at the time, fell head-over-heels in love with the Argentine poacher?
Mourinho’s affection for the elegant forward was rewarded with consistent trophy-winning goal-scoring, and with Zlatan Ibrahimovic sacrificed for the arrival of Samuel Eto’O, Diego Milito’s incredible form meant the legendary Cameroonian striker didn’t have to work as hard.
Inter Milan finished the 2009/10 Campaign as treble winners, the first in Italian top-flight history, as well as Jose Mourinho’s first as a manager, but Diego Milito, the man who was at the center of it all, will go down as one striker who defined Jose Mourinho’s successes more than anyone else.
Samuel Eto’o Fils
It all started as an agreement in Principle between Inter and Barcelona for the transfer of Samuel Eto’o to the ancient city of Milan in exchange for #46million and a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Internazionale faithful didn’t have to wait long to enjoy what Barcelona fans had enjoyed for five years, with Eto’o scoring his first competitive goal in the Supercoppa Italiana against Lazio, The Nerazzurri lost, but it was a sign of things to come.
At the peak of his powers, The 2000 Olympic Champion was regarded as one of the most ruthless strikers alive, and en route the 2010 Champions league final, Eto’os goal in the Last-16 helped Jose Mourinho knock out his dearly beloved Chelsea.
Although a couple of years later, Samuel Eto’o would reunite with his former Manager at Chelsea, it is his outstanding form in Inter’s treble winning campaign that defines his working relationship with the Manchester United boss.
Inter President, Massimo Moratti said: “I’m not sure if the deal that brought Eto’o to the club was my best piece of transfer business ever, but I really think it was a great piece of business for us.”
Currently the second most decorated active footballer with 32 trophies, Zlatan was reunited with his former boss in a free transfer from Ligue-1 Champions Paris Saint-Germain
Manchester United fans couldn’t have asked for a better introduction, the big Swede scored the match-winner in the 2016 FA Community shield as Jose Mourinho won his first trophy as Red Devils’ boss.
Ibrahimovic also won his first major European trophy as Manchester United beat Ajax to win the 2016/17 Europa League, but not before scoring two goals at Wembley to help Manchester United win their fifth league cup.
At the end of what initially looked like a disappointing campaign for Jose Mourinho, the Club had three trophies, and two of those probably wouldn’t have come in Zlatan’s absence.
At 24million pounds, the king of the bridge turned out to be an absolute bargain, not just to Jose Mourinho, but to Chelsea Football Club.
When questioned about spending so much on the Olympique Marseille man, Mourinho said “Judge him when he leaves the club” He’s left the club, and we all know no one would dare bring up any argument in the negative.
Didier Drogba’s transfer to Chelsea in 2004 was beyond instrumental in Jose Mourinho’s first two seasons at Chelsea, back-to-back Premier League titles in the pair’s first spell together.
Although Chelsea’s success under the special one remains a team story, Drogba’s contribution can never really be overestimated.
The Legendary Ivorian scored 164 goals in total for Chelsea, but the most memorable of those came under Jose Mourinho, a manager whose faith was well rewarded.
Alexis Sanchez is currently the most paid footballer in the whole of England, and there’s no doubt Jose Mourinho will be looking to help Manchester United get value for their money, yet, the Chilean poacher has a lot to prove if he’s going to make his mark as a worthy Mourinho-signing.