Not only has Jose Mourinho transformed an ageing Chelsea side into Premier League champions in the space of just two seasons, the truth is that the Special One has laid foundations that could see his club dominate English football for the rest of the decade.
In election parlance, this has been an almighty swing from the Reds to the Blues.
Since United were crowned champions two years ago when Sir Alex Ferguson retired, Chelsea’s net spending on transfers has been massively exceeded by both Manchester clubs, Arsenal and even Liverpool. And yet Mourinho has assembled a squad so much stronger than the one he inherited that they are now head and shoulders above the competition.
As Gary Neville so eloquently explained on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, these are challenging times because Chelsea’s rivals all are in danger of being left behind on and off the pitch.
At 222 million pounds Chelsea have spent more on players than any other Premier League club since June 2013. But shrewd wheeling and dealing has recouped 168M, leaving a net spend of just GBP 54M.
Compare that to the net spends of Manchester United – GBP 168M, Manchester City – GBP 115M, Arsenal – GBP 103M and Liverpool – GBP 60M.
On the pitch Chelsea, who finished 14 points behind 2013 champions United, have wrapped up the title with three matches still to play – 18 points ahead of the Old Trafford club and 13 ahead of last years top dogs City.
While critics seek to belittle Mourinho’s achievement by labelling his style of play boring, the truth is that Chelsea have the personnel to play attractive football when they want to. And in Edin Hazard the Blues have an exciting superstar as good as any player in the game behind the top two of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
In his insightful tribute to Mourinho’s remarkable achievement, Neville concludes: “If we’d have said at the end of the 2012/13 season that they were going to abide by FFP, not spend as much as others, have a net spend of £54million, have an overhaul of the squad and turn it into today’s squad, you would say that is an unbelievable performance. He’s reduced the age, he’s won the league, and it is a far stronger squad.”