José Mourinho has warned rival clubs the current inertia in the Premier League transfer market could end up provoking a late flurry of business that risks destabilising sides with the season already under way.
The Portuguese, speaking at a press conference in Indonesia before Thursday's game against a local All Stars XI, was speaking from a position of relative authority having stipulated that Chelsea's summer business is virtually done. Mourinho has seen three players – Andre Schürrle, Mark Schwarzer and Marco van Ginkel – join and still hopes to add Wayne Rooney from Manchester United to their number, but he stressed none of his own senior players are for sale, leaving the England striker the last piece in the jigsaw.
The United manager, David Moyes, had suggested earlier this week that the bulk of his own business may be conducted late in the summer, with other clubs rendered vulnerable to raids as desperation sets in and the deadline approaches on 2 September. Indeed, Mourinho said the potential departure of key personnel unsettled by interest from elsewhere could serve to undermine their challenge.
"It depends on the philosophy of each one but, as a manager, the sooner you have the players the better," said the Chelsea manager. "You know the squad you have, you know what you have to work with, you have time to do that. But yes he [Moyes] is right. The market is open until 2 September and many clubs are waiting to the last moment to make their decisions, and those decisions affect a number of other clubs. The one who sells has to go and buy, then they have to buy to replace, so no club is safe.
"Until the last minute, a club can go there and steal a player ... not steal a player, but steal the balance that a manager has when he's working with a team. In that aspect, we are OK because we don't have players to sell, so none of my players is leaving under any circumstances. Many teams will be under pressure until the last moment without knowing how the squad is going to be."
Mourinho was asked whether he was already indulging in "mind games" with Moyes. "If to say my colleague in United is a great coach, deserves success, deserves time to work, didn't win trophies at Everton because it's difficult to win trophies there ... if that is playing mind games, what would you say if I speak bad about him?" he added. "The best thing is not to speak, and if I don't speak no one says nothing."