The Premier League season does not start for another month but José Mourinho is already at it, claiming that Cesc Fábregas never wanted to return to Arsenal and that it was easy to persuade him to join Chelsea.
Fábregas had a clause in his contract at Barcelona that gave Arsenal first refusal and has said that Arsène Wenger told his former captain there was no room for him in his squad. However, Mourinho has gone further by suggesting that Chelsea were Fábregas’s first choice once it became clear he had no future in Spain.
“I spoke with him for 20 minutes,” Mourinho said, speaking in his role as a football expert and ambassador for BT Sport. “I think he really wanted to come to us. As you know Arsenal had an option where they could interfere but I think he was not open to that. He was very much in our direction. It was an easy job for me.”
Mourinho praised Chelsea for acting so decisively in the transfer market after they secured the signing of Filipe Luís from Atlético Madrid on Friday. The Brazilian left-back has signed a three-year deal and is the second player to swap the Vicente Calderón for Stamford Bridge this summer, with Chelsea having wrapped up the £32m transfer of Diego Costa earlier this month.
“I have to say my club did a fantastic job and not just because of what we bought but a fantastic job because we did it almost in record time,” Mourinho said. “The market closes at 31 August and we close our market on 19 July. We finished our market today. The club did fantastic. We knew the targets, we knew the players. The club attacked them and their clubs at a very early stage. We got exactly what we need. The squad is a squad I like very much.”
Mourinho does not expect Chelsea to sign any more players. “The market is open but we are so happy with what we have. We feel our squad is what we want. We don’t want a squad of only finished products. We want to bring to the first team three or four under-21 players. We are going to develop players and are happy with this balance we have.”
Mourinho also suggested that footballers have a responsibility to be role models to children in the light of pictures that emerged this week of Jack Wilshere smoking a cigarette on holiday.
“What football players do, millions and millions are watching, lots of kids are watching,” Mourinho said. “I’m not a specialist obviously but I don’t think if a football player smokes one cigar or cigarette with friends in the summer when he is not training – I don’t think it affects his performance. What gets affected is that a kid at home says if a top football player can smoke then I can smoke and it is not a problem. It is more a social consequence than a physical consequence.
“Being angry is not a solution but I would just explain exactly that everything they do or wear is part of the kids’ lives. If they smoke, maybe the kids think they do it a lot of times and they will probably do the same.”
Mourinho added that Manchester United will benefit from Louis van Gaal’s confidence. “I heard his press conference and I think he was very, very Louis. The Louis I know. Very honest, very pragmatic. When you are honest and direct and you say what you want and think you are not arrogant. You are just honest. He was saying that - they were outside the top four and want to improve on that, they have to try to change that as soon as possible but obviously he wants to be a champion. What he told is correct.”
Brazil’s disastrous World Cup was also up for discussion but Mourinho does not think that Ramires, Oscar and Willian will be affected by the 7-1 defeat by Germany in their semi-final. “I was more worried last season. Last season I felt they were too connected with the World Cup and we were in January, February and March and I was feeling them already there.That really worried me, it was a difficult situation.
“Now it was a big disappointment but you have to move on from that in football. I’m waiting for them and I don’t think it will be a problem. I have to try to use it in a positive way – you didn’t succeed so this season is important for you, let’s change the image and the feelings.”
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