In a frigid first month of 2020, Tottenham Hotspur have turned up the heat on their Premier League rivals by announcing the first blockbuster signing of the January transfer window.
Midfielder Gedson Fernandes is that man, the 21-year-old having joined from Primeira Liga champions Benfica on an initial 18-month deal that will keep him in north London until the end of the 2020/21 season, with a £56m deal reported to follow.
Spurs boss Jose Mourinho has made yet another of his well-trodden expeditions into his homeland to acquire a Portuguese player. Fernandes becomes the eighth player from Portugal to be acquired by Mourinho since he left FC Porto as a Champions League winner in 2004, and takes his spending on players from the Benfica paddock close to the £200m mark.
Since Fernandes becomes Mourinho’s first dip into the market since arriving at Spurs, we’ve decided to have a look at the manager’s track record with his first signings at his previous clubs, plus given them a rating out of five.
Porto 2002 - Maniche
Brought in from Benfica, Maniche was part of the Portugal national sides at Euro 2004 and World Cup 2006 (sorry England fans), but most notably was an intrinsic element of the Porto midfield that won the Liga and Champions League double. He eventually joined his compatriot Mourinho at Stamford Bridge in 2006 but only made eight appearances for Chelsea.
Chelsea 2004 - Paulo Ferreira
The first name on Mourinho’s wish list to Roman Abramovich, right-back Ferreira instantly joined his Porto boss in West London for a €20m fee in a summer of splurge, less than a month after the Dragoes’ Champions League triumph in Gelsenkirchen. Ferreira was absent for just two games as Chelsea stormed to consecutive league titles between 2004 and 2006, and would outlast his manager by staying at Chelsea until 2013 (coincidentally the summer Mourinho would return for a second spell) before retiring from professional football.
Inter Milan 2008 - Amantino Mancini
Bets are you said Diego Milito right? Instead, the honour goes to Mancini. No, not that Mancini silly! The Brazilian winger who arrived in Inter’s 100th season shortly after Mourinho had taken over from Roberto Mancini. Mancini the player was purchased from Roma for €13million (£9.75m) and left, like his manager, two years later having been part of the treble-winning squad of 2009/10. He failed to produce his Roma form at San Siro - with either Inter or AC Milan - and these days is the boss of Foggia in the Italian fourth tier.
Real Madrid 2010 - Angel Di Maria
Another buy from Benfica for Mr Mou, the Argentine would be the biggest purchase of Mourinho’s first summer transfer window with Los Blancos, arriving at the Santiago Bernabeu in a deal totalling €36million. The number 11 made close to 200 appearances across four seasons, winning La Liga and a brace of Copa Del Rey triumphs. Despite being named the UEFA Man of the Match as Los Blancos broke their 12-year Champions League hoodoo in 2014 at the Estádio da Luz against city rivals Atlético, Di Maria would quickly be moved on for an ill-fated single-season spell at Manchester United
Chelsea 2013 - Andre Schurrle
The Sequel: The Special One returned to Chelsea after six years away. Mourinho’s first transfer window back wasn’t as eye-catching as the one in 2004 when he first arrived in England. Germany international Andre Schurrle was signed from Bayer Leverkusen for a respectable £18m, off the back of 11 goals in 34 league games for Die Werkself as they finished third in the Bundesliga.
He featured frequently in his first, albeit trophyless, season with Chelsea. Chances were few and far between in his second, but he contributed just enough to collect a Premier League winners medal before moving on after less than 18 months to Wolfsburg. For Germany, Schurrle memorably provided the assist for Mario Gotze’s match-winner in the 2014 World Cup final against Argentina.
Manchester United 2016 - Eric Bailly
Eric Bailly arrived as one of a quartet of new faces which seemed set to herald a new era of success at the Red Devils, after three woeful years post-Sir Alex Ferguson. Mourinho was confirmed as the third permanent manager since the great Scot on May 27, 2016. The £30m Bailly signed from Villarreal just over a week later, on June 8. Serious sterling was spent as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba soon followed.
Centre-back Bailly enjoyed a promising start to life as a Manchester United player, and he did form part of the side that won the Europa League and League Cup double in his first season. But injuries and occasional recklessness, resulting in three red cards and multiple suspensions in his United spell to date, soon interrupted his career. The Ivory Coast international is out of contract this summer.