Stop me if you've heard this rumor making the rounds. Jose Mourinho doesn't like David Luiz, and wants to sell him to the highest bidder because of that. Barcelona are interested in the service's of Luiz, and will therefore be looking to buy the player. David Luiz is Barca-bound, everybody panic!
As David Luiz is a fairly polarizing figure, I'm sure the media are absolutely loving this. As soon as they publish anything on the fantastic Brazilian, they are near certain to have fans screaming that this would be terrible, while others wanting to see the Brazilian moved along as soon as possible. But is there anything to this rumor? David Luiz let us know that there has been interest this morning, but let's look a bit deeper to see if this has any legs.
Three times previously in his career, Jose Mourinho has moved to a club in which he'd likely have loads of money to spend to build a contending squad. Three times previously, he's "shaped the squad in his image" with that money. That means three times in the past, he's had to clear out players whom he did not want, and because of that we'll have a pattern to follow.
So who exactly did Mourinho sell when he took over at each of these jobs. I decided to look at transfermarkt to see who he bought and sold during his first summer on each job, and will highlight all of the financially significant moves he ended up making.
We'll start with Chelsea, in what was a relatively eventful summer. It was the first summer in which Roman Abramovich's money would really be a factor with "his guy" managing the club, and there were loads of additions to the squad. Guys like Didier Drogba, Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho, and Arjen Robben all joined, and Chelsea went from being a very good squad to an elite one in a matter of several months.
It would make sense that Mourinho sold lots of dead weight to make room for those that he had just added...right? Well unfortunately for this particular narrative, this just wasn't the case. Mourinho really only sold one player of any value that first summer, allowing Jesper Grönkjaer to join Birmingham City for a whopping €3.3 million.
At Chelsea, Mou probably didn't have any sort of need to sell his players, as a certain Russian billionaire has enough money to burn to heat the whole of Siberia. That wasn't the case with Inter though, so let's see what he did when he took charge there in 2008.
He made a few notable purchases, including Ricardo Quaresma. Did he sell though? In fairness, he did more selling than he did at Chelsea, selling Pele* for €6 million and dumping Sebastian Ribas for a a cool €1 million more. That was quite the selling spree, wasn't it?
*Not that Pele...
Let's now jump two years into the future, when he left his treble-winning Inter Milan side for the greener pastures of Madrid. Jose immediately bought Mezut Ozil, before his transfer fee had the chance to skyrocket. He also added semi-expensive purchases Sami Khedira, Angel Di Maria, Ricardo Carvalho, and Pedro Leon to the Real Madrid squad that summer*.
*I know Sergio Canales is listed here, but that move was agreed well prior to Mou's arrival
You'll note that there is only one player who Real actually sold that summer, with Rafael van der Vaart heading to Tottenham for a reported €10 million. Also worth noting here is that Mou took the entire summer to evaluate him, and didn't complete that deal until deadline day.
Looking at Mourinho's past shouldn't tell us definitively that he won't consider selling a player if he doesn't have a use for him, but what it should tell us very clearly is that he doesn't come to new clubs with any sort of pre-conceived notions on who he can work with and who he cannot. Looking at what he's done before should lead us to believe that he's likely to add competition, but he's never shown a tendency to clear at the talent already at hand. He'll likely want to train with the squad, make judgments based on what he sees, and then put his stamp on the team in his second summer with the club. If he does want to clear out a highly talented player, he's certainly not likely to rush in doing so.
Mou has also never shown anything that should make us think he's unwilling or unable to change formations based on the talent at hand. When he arrived at Chelsea, he quickly adapted the tactics we used to highlight the strengths of guys like Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Claude Makelele, and the incredible defensive unit that we had. His first season at Inter saw him win a Serie A title with a squad built around the great Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but his second season saw him dramatically alter his approach after the sale of the Swede to Barcelona and the acquisition of Wesley Sneijder.
At Real, Mou adapted his side to highlight the strengths of a wide forward in Cristiano Ronaldo, using a different focal point for the attack than he had at any time in the past. That makes three clubs with very different weapons at their disposal, and Mourinho showed no difficulty adapting "his system" to highlight the strengths of his best players.
David Luiz is a sensational talent, and Mourinho has never shown any sort of inability to recognize that sort of thing. I find it hard to believe he'd look at him and say "he doesn't fit" without working with him, especially as he's never done that in the past. Looking at his previous stops at elite European clubs, there's absolutely nothing to suggest that Mourinho is going to clear out players he doesn't like. Instead, there is every reason to believe Luiz will have his chance to show the Portuguese what he can do, and subsequently be given the chance to have a team built around his unique abilities if he impresses.