Roberto Martinez has already backed a Transit van straight into the DW Stadium shop and made off with Arouna Kone, Antolin Alcaraz and Joel Robles. With the Spaniard malingering at the scene of the crime in the hope of signing James McCarthy and David Moyes sniffing around Marouane Fellaini, it’s time to take a look at what the past has to say about the wisdom of managers raiding their former clubs for players.
As with so many aspects of football management, Jose Mourinho seems to be an example of how to do things properly.
Having won the Champions League with Porto he wasted little time in bringing Ricardo Carvalho and Paulo Ferreira with him to Chelsea, both of whom were to become key-members of the ultra miserly defence that formed the basis of the club’s consecutive Premier League wins following his arrival.
Sure enough when Mourinho – whose Chelsea are 11/5 for the Premier League title following his return to the club – joined Real Madrid, he signed Carvalho again, indicating his profound trust in the abilities of the Portugal international.
Luckily for Kone – 66/1 for Premier League top goalscorer honours this term – trusted strikers often find continued success when following managers from club to club, as Harry Redknapp protégés Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch can attest to.
Ian Holloway was another gaffer rewarded for his faith in a forward when then 39-year-old Kevin Phillips – who had previously played for him at Blackpool – coolly slotted home the penalty that sent his Crystal Palace side into the Premier League in last season’s play-off final.
Pertinently for Moyes, Josep Guardiola can warn of the potential for rancour in moving one of your favoured old boys to your latest world famous club.
Pep’s signing of Thiago for Bayern has already caused controversy, with the youngster preferred to Bayern royalty Bastian Schweinsteiger in pre-season tactical arrangements, whilst the fact that the player is represented by his manager’s brother drew implications of financial sleaze from the German press.
The new Man Utd supremo – and Martinez for that matter – would also do well to heed the far less happy example of Gordon Strachan, who affected a large scale player transplant when he left Celtic for Middlesbrough.
11 SPL players – including five ex-Bhoys – arrived during the first two transfer windows of his Riverside tenure, with only Barry Robson ever really endearing himself to the Boro faithful.
Just over three seasons later, Strachan – along with each and every one of his Scottish imports – is long gone.