Usually when a player is deemed surplus to requirements by a manager, he is allowed to leave for a more humble sum than might have been imagined.
Think Eric Cantona’s £1.5million fee to Manchester United after falling out with Howard Wilkinson at Leeds, the £10m price Sunderland paid Manchester City for misfit Adam Johnson, or the cost to Liverpool of £12m for Chelsea’s Daniel Sturridge, who is now worth at least twice as much.
But Jose Mourinho bucks that trend. The Chelsea boss is somehow able to extract huge sums for players he does not even want. Since he returned to Stamford Bridge, five players he thought unworthy of keeping have been offloaded for quite remarkable figures totalling £141m.
Kevin De Bruyne started just two Premier League games for Chelsea following a £6.7m move from Genk, but was sold in January to Wolfsburg for a staggering £18m.
Manchester United broke their transfer record to sign Juan Mata that same month for £37m. He had only started 11 league games under Mourinho, one Champions League tie and two matches in the Capital One Cup.
Demba Ba moved to Besiktas for £8m this summer – a profit of £1m from the fee paid to Newcastle – despite being 29 years old and with only 23 starts in all competitions in 18 months.
In June Paris Saint-Germain handed over an astonishing £50m for David Luiz, a player Mourinho had reservations about from day one and was behind John Terry and Gary Cahill in the pecking order for centre-backs. It is a world-record fee for a defender.
And now Everton have set a new transfer record fee in capturing Romelu Lukaku for £28m.
Across the five deals Chelsea made a total profit in the region of £60m. A phenomenal amount even for Chelsea – because Financial Fair Play rules should begin to bite and the fact these were players no longer desired.
Quite how the club, and Mourinho as its architect, have been able to pull it all off is a question many of the game’s executives would like to know.
Case by case, each transfer fee has its merits for the buying club for different reasons, and Chelsea have clearly been able to push the right buttons to get the most money possible.
De Bruyne is a young, dynamic attacker who can flourish in the technical Bundesliga and become a flag-bearer for Wolfsburg, where he has scored three goals in 16 games since January. For Werder Bremen the previous season he was marvellous, scoring 10 goals in 33 games.
A player the stature of Mata was needed by United at a time of deep crisis, with David Moyes clinging on to his job and Ed Woodward needing to prove his ability in the transfer market.
Mourinho no longer saw them as rivals so sanctioned a move but still ensured maximum value.
Besiktas have wanted a pivotal striker for some time and in Ba have a player who is guaranteed to get goals in the Turkish top-flight. He still had two years on his deal at Stamford Bridge hence the inflated sum.
PSG, meanwhile, are in thrall to glamour and superstar signings. For all Luiz’s defensive frailities he is an excellent ball player, passer, and shot-maker, and carries the allure of Samba style. His gargantuan price still makes the eyes pop, though.