There was a time when saying you worked under José Mourinho was a little like saying you studied at Oxford or roadied for Hendrix.
Because Mourinho was supposed to be the daddy, so seminal that his influence extended way beyond his own club and into others through past pupils and drop-outs. But this week two of his former students, Steve Clarke and André Villas-Boas, were jilted and suddenly he does not appear so masterful. There are more former Martin Jol assistants in charge of Premier League clubs now than ones mentored by Mourinho.
So is Jol about to make a comeback at West Bromwich Albion or Tottenham Hotspur? Hell no. Instead, Spurs intend replacing a manager who flourished under Mourinho before falling out with him with one who has already beaten him twice this season. Basel's Murat Yakin is wanted by Spurs, according to, well, Basel's Murat Yakin.
An even more contrary process is afoot with players, whereby the most sought-after are not so much ones who have worked with Mourinho as ones with whom he has seemed reluctant to work. So Romelu Lukaku is widely considered an even better striker than he actually is, Thibault Courtois is seen as far superior to Petr Cech and Juan Mata is soon to be the subject of an enormous bid from Paris Saint-Germain.
Actually, the Daily Express tells us that it is Eden Hazard for whom PSG are going to bid but L'Equipe say Mata and, what's more, they say a fee of about €40m has already been put forward and indications have been given that the player is amenable to the move.
But since PSG, unlike Chelsea, are keen to avoid hoarding attacking midfielders, they want to first sell Javier Pastore, Ezequiel Lavezzi or Lucas Moura, which is excellent news for Liverpool, as Brendan Rodgers would happily settle for any one of that trio, assuming the curse of the former Mourinho underlings does not afflict him before January. Which it probably won't, since it does not really exist and has been invented solely for the purposes of this intro, a bit like Villas-Boas. No, hold on, AVB really does exist, it is just that at times he came across as an extract from a textbook.
Anyway, apparently PSG also want the Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba. If only Manchester United had such a player, eh? David Moyes is hoping to address United's creativity deficit by prising Angel di María from Real Madrid but Arsenal have the same plan and, while they're about it, fancy hiring Iker Casillas too.
A barren midfield is not the only problem that Moyes inherited, of course. He also reckons he needs a new left-back and, with Leighton Baines not happening, a swoop for Porto's Alex Sandro is imminent. The same club's Fernando, a midfielder, was also on Moyes's shopping list but the player prefers a move to Internazionale, apparently.
Ghana's right-back, Samuel Inkoom, will warm up for the World Cup by playing for either Norwich or Crystal Palace, of course.
Anderlecht and PSV both want to get with the zeitgeist so are clamouring to sign the man who best embodies the teachings of the school of Jol. So Fulham are bracing themselves for a bid for Bryan Ruiz – and when we say bracing themselves, we mean trying to make sure their sides do not split.
Meanwhile, Mourinho is after Wolfsburg's 21-year-old Swiss defender Ricardo Rodríguez, who may or may not be flattered.