In an icy first month of 2020, Tottenham Hotspur raised fire on Premier League rivals by announcing the first successful signing of the January relocation window.
Midfielder Gedson Fernandes is that man, the 21-year-old who joined Primeira Liga Benfica champions on an initial 18-month deal that will keep him in North London until the end of the 2020/21 season, with a £ 56 deal millions to follow.
Spurs boss Jose Mourinho made another of his well-traveled expeditions home to acquire a Portuguese player. Fernandes becomes Portugal’s eighth player to be acquired by Mourinho since he left FC Porto as a Champions League winner in 2004 and brings his spending on Benfica paddock players close to the £ 200 million mark.
Since Fernandes becomes the first dip in the Mourinho market since he arrived in Spurs, we decided to take a look at the manager’s track record with his first purchases in his previous clubs, as well as giving them a score out of five.
Porto 2002 – Sleeves
Born from Benfica, Maniche was part of the Portuguese national teams at the Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup (sorry for the England fans), but in particular it was an intrinsic element of the Porto midfield which won twice the Liga and the Champions League . He eventually joined his compatriot Mourinho at Stamford Bridge in 2006, but made only eight appearances for Chelsea.
Chelsea 2004 – Paulo Ferreira
The first name on Mourinho’s wish list to Roman Abramovich, right back Ferreira immediately joined his head of the Port in West London for a tax of 20 million euros in a summer of madness, less than a month after the triumph of the Champions League of Dragoes in Gelsenkirchen. Ferreira was only absent for two games while Chelsea had hit consecutive titles between 2004 and 2006, and would have survived his manager staying at Chelsea until 2013 (coincidentally Mourinho’s summer would return for a second period) earlier to withdraw from professional football.
Inter Milan 2008 – Amantino Mancini
Betting, you said Diego Milito, didn’t you? Instead, the honor goes to Mancini. No, not that foolish Mancini! The Brazilian winger who arrived in Inter’s hundredth season shortly after Mourinho took over from Roberto Mancini. The Mancini player was bought by Roma for € 13 million (£ 9.75 million) and left, like his manager, two years after joining the 2009/10 high win team. He failed to produce his Roma form in San Siro – with Inter or Milan – and in these days he is the boss of Foggia in the fourth Italian level.
Real Madrid 2010 – Angel Di Maria
Another purchase of Benfica for Mr Mou, the Argentine would be the largest purchase of the first summer transfer window of Mourinho with Los Blancos, arriving at the Santiago Bernabeu in an agreement for a total of 36 million euros. The number 11 made nearly 200 appearances in four seasons, winning La Liga and a pair of Copa Del Rey triumphs. Despite being named the UEFA Match Man as Los Blancos broke his 12th Champions League cup year in 2014 at the Estádio da Luz against Atlético rivals, Di Maria would have been quickly transferred for a spell unfortunate single season in Manchester United
Chelsea 2013 – Andre Schurrle
The Sequel: The Special One has returned to Chelsea after six years away. Mourinho’s first transfer window was not as appealing as that of 2004 when he first arrived in England. German international Andre Schurrle was signed by Bayer Leverkusen for a respectable £ 18m, due to 11 goals in 34 league games for Die Werkself, having finished third in the Bundesliga.
He often participated in his first season, albeit without trophies, with Chelsea. The odds were low among them in the second, but he contributed enough to collect a medal from the Premier League winners before moving on to Wolfsburg after less than 18 months. For Germany, Schurrle memorably provided assistance to the winner of the Mario Gotze game in the 2014 World Cup final against Argentina.
Manchester United 2016 – Eric Bailly
Eric Bailly arrived as one of a quartet of new faces who seemed to herald a new era of success for the Red Devils after three painful years after Sir Alex Ferguson. Mourinho was confirmed as third permanent manager from Scotland on May 27, 2016. The £ 30 million Bailly signed by Villarreal just over a week later on June 8. Serious pound was spent while Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba soon followed.
Central defender Bailly had a promising start to life as a Manchester United player, and was part of the team that won the Europa League and League Cup doubles in its first season. But injuries and occasional unconsciousness, resulting in three red cards and multiple suspensions in his United spell to date, have soon ended his career. International Ivory Coast is out of contract this summer.