Bad blood between Jose Mourinho and Luke Shaw?

Jose Mourinho has set the transfer world ablaze in the past couple of days and suddenly this Manchester United side, which scored a paltry 49 goals in the last season, look worlds apart from the squad that played last season. But in addition to these new signings strengthening the squad, return of the Luke Shaw will certainly boost team’s balance significantly. If one was to track back and see when it started going wrong last season, the time slot coincides largely with Shaw’s terrible injury. He was by far United’s best player in those early games and that injury put the team a couple of steps back. Now with his return from injury, the player looks all set to impress the new manager. By the looks of it, the former Southampton full-back is completely in shape and raring to go in the pre-season.

But, one should not forget that this is not the first time Shaw has been on Mourinho’s training plans. The former Chelsea manager wanted to have the services of Shaw at the London club but had to move away from those plans due to the, then teenager’s, wage demands. Mourinho at that time had expressed his concerns on how the hugely inflated wages would reflect negatively, especially on senior players.

“If we pay to a 19-year-old boy what we were being asked for, to sign Luke Shaw, we are dead. We would have killed our stability with financial fair play and killed the stability in our dressing room.

“Because when you pay that much to a 19-year-old kid – a good player, fantastic player – but when you pay that amount of money, the next day, we would have had players knocking on our door.

“They would have been saying, ‘How is it possible I play 200 games for this club, won this and that, yet a 19-year-old comes here and gets more money than I get?’”

The Portuguese manager, however, did not speak anything ill of United, who ended up signing Shaw and agreeing upon reportedly £130,000 per week wages.

“It would’ve killed immediately our balance and we couldn’t allow that. I don’t criticise another club for paying it. They can pay what they want. I don’t have any comment about it.”

Now that the former Chelsea manager is actually at Old Trafford, there are reports of him having a “clear the air” talks with the player.  However, it seems a bit far-fetched an idea. Talks, sure, but not sure if there is much to clear the air about. Mourinho, at that time, took a decision and had a perfectly logical reason for it. The wage differences can uproot that one thing on which each football team hinges, unity. Senior figures at the club might not be pleased if a certain newcomer is earning only a few less than them and this will upset the team morale and focus. This doesn’t seem like something to “clear the air” upon. These reported talks might just be Mourinho’s way of avoiding any chance of awkwardness or miscommunication.

If one was to follow Shaw’s social media accounts, it is pretty obvious that the youngster is single-mindedly focussing on making his return and trying to be on the same level as he was when he got injured. Putting all these things in perspective,  there doesn’t seem to be any bad blood between the two and these “clear the air” talks are most probably just Mourinho’s way of easing the youngster back in the squad, under a new manager, who has had a brief history with him. If anything, this is a good step on United’s manager’s part. All the eyes will be on the pre-season training which will start next week. Most of the senior players will be missing due to the European Championships but Shaw will be one of those who will be available. Undivided attention on training is what Mourinho would want from his squad and these “talks”, if held as reported, might be the way to ensure that, nothing else.

Written by Chinmay Padhye


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