José Mourinho’s record with Chelsea is legendary in every sense of that word, though his record with Chelsea youth is more akin to that infamous 2015-16 season that probably still shouldn’t really be mentioned at all lest we paint the devil on the wall.
But that is perhaps why it’s a bit ironic that Tammy Abraham has now ended up joining Mourinho’s latest team, even if the Chelsea Academy product at the time of Mourinho Mk.II was, in José’s words, just “14 15, 16-year-old” — which of course already isn’t true as Abraham was in fact 18 by then and would actually go on to make his Chelsea debut at the end of 2015-16 under interim boss Guus Hiddink. (And José would specifically big up Dom Solanke earlier as well — just talk, no action, obviously — who’s only a month older than Tammy and was dominating the youth scoring charts alongside him. But I digress.)
Off to a good start then!
Hopefully 23 going on 24 is old enough for The Famously Ageist One. And in that sense, Tammy has already made a good first impression on The Ten-Minute One simply by taking the tough decision to leave familiar confines for something brand new and very different.
He might not have the “experience” that Mourinho craves likes Brawndo, but he’s got the electrolytes of youth and ambition, which is what football craves.
“I have to say the general manager and owners have been brilliant [and] reacting in this way after losing Dzeko and bringing in Tammy Abraham was a real coup.”
“I prefer to say wait and see for Tammy, but I say that with total confidence. I’ve known him since he was a boy. He never played for me, because he was a 14, 15, 16-year-old when I was at Chelsea, but I know him very well.
“I know him as a player, a person and in terms of mentality. It is always tough for an English player to leave his country and the Premier League, and that says so much about him. If you leave the Premier League, it’s because you are ambitious, because you want to get back into your national team, because you want to play at the World Cup and win outside of England, where not many English players have had brilliant careers.
“He comes here with that ambition and we hope to see his best qualities as a player. With Tammy, Eldor Shomurodov and Borja Mayoral, we have attacking options that I’m very pleased about. We don’t have the experience you might see at Juventus with Cristiano Ronaldo, at Milan with Olivier Giroud and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, given they are all well-established, but in terms of potential, I couldn’t be happier with the players we have.”
Mourinho can be the making of a player, and he can be the breaking of a player — usually in a spectacular way, in either case.
Let’s hope it’s the former fate that awaits Tammy.