John Giles: Jose Mourinho looks like a man tormented by his circumstances at Chelsea
Read John Giles every week exclusively in The Herald
Published 21/08/2015 | 21:32
For those of us who analyse football, the Pedro transfer saga is a gift. On one side, Jose Mourinho who got a player he didn't want and on the other Louis van Gaal who didn't get the man he most definitely wanted.
The spin currently running on how Mourinho swooped to grab Pedro from under Van Gaal's nose does not ring true for me. My gut instinct tells me he didn't want the player and that's backed up by his own words.
He actually said he wasn't interested in Pedro in a Sky interview because he already had four or five wingers and I don't for a second believe that he was engaged in some sort of bluff when he said it.
It's almost a year to the day when Brendan Rodgers told us that Mario Balotelli was a great signing just a few weeks after he made it abundantly plain to all who heard him that the problem child of world football would cross Anfield's threshold over his dead body.
That's a bit of an exaggeration but not by much. Mourinho didn't make as much noise about Pedro when he was asked about him but I believed him when he said he didn't need Pedro just as I believed Rodgers' first opinion of Balotelli
I have no doubt that Mourinho will be delighted to deny Manchester United a player they dearly wanted to sign but that's the only plus point for him in all of this.
I sensed trouble in the Chelsea camp because of Roman Abramovich's decision to overrule Mourinho on the Petr Cech transfer and the fact that a title winning squad was not freshened up with new talent.
We've seen how angry and frustrated Mourinho has been and I think it is becoming very clear now that he is tormented by his circumstances.
He signed a four-year deal and with the ink barely dry, Pedro is dropped into his squad which, in turn, may mean that the player or players he actually wants will not be bought.
According to story being spun by Chelsea, Mourinho pulled off a great stroke altogether and was on the phone making a personal intervention to swing the deal. I'm not so sure about that.
To have a good stab at what happened you must first look at Van Gaal and Ed Woodward. On Manchester United's side, the yarn emerging is that the Dutchman had doubts and decided not to buy. Oddly enough, Woodward went to Barcelona twice, the second time this week and presumably to tie up the deal.
So it's fair to say that Van Gaal had no qualms about signing Pedro up to that point or Woodward would not have been there.
I favour the theory that Woodward was playing hardball with Barcelona over the transfer fee and both club and player became impatient.
Abramovich stepped in with an offer Pedro could not refuse and Manchester United were gazumped.
I'd be a cynic, though and wonder did Woodward have his own ideas about Pedro. It wouldn't be the first time a manager was told he couldn't have a player because the other club was looking for too much money.
If that is what happened, Mourinho has every reason to be seething and Woodward should be dusting down his CV.
The conditions Mourinho fought so hard for appear to have changed and if he is true to himself, he should walk. But he has a huge dilemma. He signed a four year deal and more importantly, where would he go?
Manchester United didn't want him and he must be inwardly seething while watching the man who beat him to the job throwing a quarter of a billion at his squad and with no sign of stopping.
Losing out on Pedro is a blow for Van Gaal and yet another in a long list of targets missed by Woodward, but the Dutchman will just take a deep breath and roll on.
If he's the character I think he is, he'll be looking for a new man to make deals and I think he has the authority at Old Trafford to get that if he insists.
Mourinho is in a completely different situation and if I was a Chelsea fan, I would be very concerned. He walked before because of interference from above.