Jose Mourinho has dropped the first hints that his reconstruction of the Chelsea squad is far from complete. In an interview for the Blues’ website he says that Chelsea are still a club in transition and that he hopes to play a part in building a new decade of success at Stamford Bridge.
He said: “After 10 years of titles and great moments, this is a moment to rebuild again, because teams don’t last for ever. Clubs yes, but not the teams. In the same club you have to build another team.”
And he added: “I was a little part of the process that made Chelsea a force in the last decade, and I come back with the dream to try to be a little part again of the next decade.”
It may come as a little bit of a shock to Roman Abramovich and the board, who thought they had been carrying out a rebuild for some years now. But Mourinho has already junked two major components of that restructuring project by selling off Juan Mata and David Luiz. And his words imply that Abramovich may have to spend quite a bit more before his manager is happy with the finished product.
Already, we know that the team for next year will look startlingly different from last, with the additions of Cesc Fabregas, Thibaut Courtois and probably Diego Costa, Tiago and Filipe Luis. A new coentre-back will almost certainly arrive – although it may be Kurt Zouma who is already officially at the club. And there are very strong suggestions that another top midfielder will be added to the roster – with the rumour mill currently reporting that Chelsea have made formidable offers for Toni Kroos and Paul Pogba. This isn’t just a bit of repointing on an existing structure – this is practically a whole new project.
Mourinho’s words in the rest of the interview suggest that he isn’t yet sure how far the reconstruction of Chelsea has gone and how much more there is to go. “I know Chelsea will be better, “ he said, “but maybe the other teams will be better too, so it will again be the kind of league where you don’t know if you’re going to finish first or finish sixth. In this moment I have to think and feel and say we want to finish first.”
That is at least a step up in confidence from his “little horse” comments of last year. And it may well be that when he has finished his summer signings, he may be in a better position to judge how the season will go.
Wjhat is clear, however, is that the wind of change at Stamford Bridge hasn’t finished blowing yet.