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Chelsea scout Piet de Visser enjoying his De Bruyne, Lukaku, Hazard, Mourinho 'I told you so' moment in the sun

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Chelsea scout Piet de Visser has never been accused of not having a strong opinion.

The man close to the ear of Abramovich for over a decade now, and involved to varying degrees in the acquisitions of the likes of Robben, Kalou, Alex, Mikel, Lukaku, Courtois, De Bruyne, and even Arnesen and Hiddink, has now cast his eyes over the smoldering rubble of Chelsea's season and has seen an opportunity to promote his own brand.  He's never been shy about doing that, which is why his name and his accomplishments (rather than his failures like Alcides) are so well known.  While that doesn't necessarily make the things he's saying wrong, the timing is certainly curious, if not poisonous.  We can't just ignore them unfortunately, but I do wonder how this will affect his relationship with Chelsea.  Will we be more inclined to trust his opinions and recommendations?  Will we be more reluctant to work with him, not wanting more dirty laundry to be aired after something goes wrong?  I suppose only time will tell.

In any case, "Master Scout" De Visser has many strong opinions, and considering his previous clashes with Mourinho (Alex vs. Boulahrouz, for example, or the whole Frank Arnesen appointment), most of them making the media rounds are unsurprisingly about Jose's silly decisions.  Some are from his new book, "Master Scout! The Great Discoveries of Piet de Visser" (LOL), some are from associated promotional interviews he's given to various Belgian media outlets, including Het Nieuwsblad.  Most of that is behind a paywall (and not in English), but fortunately Kristof Terreur has posted a few key passages on Twitter.

A commendable aim, no?  Not according to Piet!

"Eden is a player who has moments of brilliance. Mourinho tried to turn him into an improved version of Messi or Ronaldo, but that is impossible. Hazard will never be like that. Eden is Eden, a player with brilliant individual actions, but someone who will never become a machine. He also wants to relax. You should never make him the player to carry the team. Don't make him the captain. Just tell him to enjoy himself out there."

"Mourinho is a winner and wanted to get even more out of Eden. He was already great, though, so why not just leave it at that? Mourinho wanted him to carry the team in every game, to score every match and to be decisive all the time. The pressure became too much for Eden and that hurt his game. That's when Mourinho lost it. Hazard went from heaven to hell under Mourinho. That led to stress and injuries. I hope the new coach will treat him differently."

-Piet de Visser; source: HLN via Goal

It's important to keep in mind with these quotes that they are NOT from Eden Hazard, they are NOT from Jose Mourinho, but rather from a scout, who, by all indications, is mostly in this for the personal glory.  Of course, same could be said of managers and even players, so just keep the biases in mind before throwing anybody under the proverbial bus.

Eden may have voiced frustrations along similar lines once, but then we brought in Fàbregas and Costa to create multiple facets in our attack and it was all good.  By all other indications, the relationship between manager and star player was one of mutual respect, reasonable expectations, and a productive professionalism.  Plus, if Hazard truly is such a fragile little summer child, then perhaps we should indeed flog him off to some willing buyer.

"I was angry with Mourinho when De Bruyne left Chelsea.  We had some discussions.  Then he would say: 'Piet, I find it a shame too, but the boy wants to leave.  He doesn't want to train under me anymore.'  I told him: 'Yes, the boy wants to play. He's ready for it.' I have tried to convince him of Kevin's qualities.  But then Mourinho repeated: 'Piet, he doesn't want to train.' Until I went to see a training session: Kevin was the best player on the pitch. Look: Mourinho is a performance focused manager, who has achieved a lot in his career. He wants to work with fully developed players. He thought Kevin needed one, maybe two years. But Kevin was ready. And Kevin was convinced he was ready too."

-Piet de Visser; source: HLN via @HLNinEngeland

So that's nothing really new.  Mourinho wasn't sold on KDB despite others' differing opinions (including Piet's that KDB was going to end up being worth "tenfold" his purchase price).  Meanwhile, the kid wanted to play, so there was only one possible way forward.  José tried to prevent the sale itself, but De Bruyne was not interested in another loan, so we couldn't just stockpile him for the next season or two and wait for him to reach his current level.  We move on.

"I fought to keep Lukaku at Chelsea, but Mourinho thought he wasn't ready.  The manager takes the decisions — I'm only a scout. In my book I've called Lukaku a holding striker. Some people don't agree with me, but I'm looking at a bigger picture.  He can control a ball, shield it, but he doesn't have that pure dribbling technique.  He's no Wayne Rooney.  Lukaku is in my eyes a class better than Benteke.  Romelu is ready for a next step in the summer.  I would like to see him with better players around him.  Does he have to return to Chelsea?  I would down a bottle of wine if De Bruyne and Lukaku ever sign for Chelsea again."

-Piet de Visser; source: HLN via @HLNinEngeland

Basically the same story and a similarly untenable situation with Lukaku as with his good pal De Bruyne.  We tried to move on here, too, but recent rumors have thrown us back into this quagmire.  Given Everton's atrocious season, Lukaku's proclamation of a possible move to "a club like Chelsea" (or even Chelsea?) last year doesn't seem like the strangest thing ever now.

The last of our Belgian quartet is goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.  Here, for a change, De Visser has not found any fault with Mourinho.

"I went to watch Lukaku in a youth game, but during stoppage time, I decided to walk to another pitch.  There, I saw a goalkeeper making an amazing save — so stylish.  He was agile, he got fast to the ground and was strong in the air.  I was already thinking: 'That's going to be my goalkeeper'.  When he made his debut for Genk, I immediately sounded the alarm bells at Chelsea.  Everybody was immediately convinced of his qualities.  Everybody!  Neuer is currently the best goalkeeper in the world, but Thibaut can become better than him.  Neuer is just more experienced.  Thibaut is very very stress-resistant.  Like Edwin van der Sar.  Courtois is a better version of Van der Sar."

-Piet de Visser; source: HLN via @HLNinEngeland

Having hitched our wagon long-term to the kid, hopefully De Visser's eye for talent doesn't fail us in Courtois's case.  No one will bat a thousand when it comes to identifying talent, not De Visser, not Mourinho, not Emenalo, not even you while playing Football Manager.

De Visser may have some strong, controversial opinions, but he has proven repeatedly that he also has a strong eye for talent.  So perhaps he should just stick to that and keep his opinions out of our business once he's done his job as a scout.

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