Mourinho's great transfer trick
Mourinho pulls off perfect transfer coup by snatching Pedro from under United's noses
Jose Mourinho must know the quote.
He lives by French poet Charles Baudelaire's most famous line.
The devil's finest trick is to persuade you that he doesn't exist.
That's Mourinho's mantra. Only he turns it upside down. His trick, the most accomplished of his coaching career, is to convince others that the devil does exist. He sits in Chelsea's dugout.
He's a raving, wide-eyed, foul-mouthed lunatic, screaming abuse at confused club doctors and substituting club legends.
He thrives in chaos, in conflict, in uncertainty, in fear. But it's not anarchy. Anarchy suggests disorder and Mourinho knows exactly what he's doing.
He's pulled off the transfer coup of the summer.
In signing Pedro Rodriguez for a relatively cheap £21.4 million ($47m), with £2.1m of the payment comprised of performance-related add-ons, Chelsea tick a few empty boxes and rub out a few in Manchester United's column.
The right-sided forward offers a viable solution to the Blues' tactical imbalance.
His signing sends a signal to potential targets that Roman's bank is open for business. He's the first major transfer domino to fall Chelsea's way. Others will follow.
In an earlier column, I suggested Mourinho would stun the market by signing a right-sided forward, a defensive midfielder and a central defender.
That's one down and two more to go. There's still time.
More importantly, the momentum has suddenly swung from Old Trafford to Stamford Bridge with a single signature, offering clear evidence that in the most pivotal moments of negotiation, Chelsea are ruthless. United look woeful.
Not a bad day's work for an alleged madman.
Of course, Mourinho revels in the mischief. He convinces in his devilish guise, knowing that angels with cherubic faces rarely take control of a dressing room or take home the silverware.
There is always, without question, a method to the apparent madness. In this case, Pedro was being hijacked.
As United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward flew to Barcelona for transfer talks, Mourinho rambled on about "fake results" at Manchester City.
He played to the gallery, waffling on about John Terry's substitution and the tedious fallout from the demoted doctors. Pedro was never mentioned.
LOST AND WON
Publicly, Chelsea had lost the plot on the pitch.
Privately, they were pitching the club to Pedro. Mourinho called the undecided Spanish forward several times to win him over and told Cesc Fabregas to do the same.
In press conferences, Mourinho appeared shambolic. Over the phone, he organised a coup d'etat.
None of this makes him particularly likeable of course. Sustaining a climate of chaos and endless complaints must be exhausting. It's certainly unpopular.
But Mourinho has Pedro in his squad to face West Brom tomorrow. At United, Woodward has photo-shopped memes calling him "an idiot abroad" on Twitter.
Suddenly, a team in disarray now have options. The Blues have found pace.
Fabregas convinced his former Barcelona teammate to join Chelsea and might have helped himself in the process.
After three matches, including the Community Shield, Chelsea's concerns are self-evident.
If they persist with the 4-2-3-1 formation, then there are weaknesses on the right side of attack, Fabregas neglects his defensive duties and Eden Hazard is a No. 10 only on the back of his jersey.
In truth, Mourinho has tried both Willian and Oscar in the No. 10 role with limited success and he prefers Fabregas in a quarterback's position.
Pedro's pace, tactical insight and underrated consistency solves the right-sided problem at a stroke, but also presents Mourinho with the added option of returning to the 4-3-3 he favoured at Chelsea the first time around.
That's the same 4-3-3 that runs through the Barcelona DNA - the line-up ingrained in Pedro's psyche.
Even if Mourinho doesn't step back in time, tactically, Pedro's arrival at least allows Ramires to step back into central midfield against physical opponents.
But Pedro's contribution to Chelsea's recovery is already considerable without kicking a ball. He signed. He committed to Mourinho's cause.
He didn't see a madman, but the master of misdirection dividing opinion and conquering the transfer market once more.
John Stones will be next. And there's still time for a third man. Even Paul Pogba is being mentioned now. Such speculation would've been unthinkable a week ago.
Mourinho's endless scheming does get insufferably dull, but it also brings undeniable success.
While Wayne Rooney toils in a position that he is clearly unsuited for at United, Pedro will be unleashed against West Brom.
One man made that possible with another unexpected sleight of hand.
But there's no devil in the Chelsea dugout. With Mourinho, the devil is always in the detail.
"I am ready to start playing straight away if the manager selects me. I am in very good shape because I have already played for Barcelona this season. It’s a new challenge and I can’t wait to get going. EPL "
- Pedro Rodriguez declaring his readiness to face West Brom tomorrow
"He (Mourinho) is one of the main reasons why I’m here. He phoned me a few times and said he needed me to make the team stronger. I spoke to Cesc. We are very good friends. I knew I would feel at home here."
- Pedro on why he joined Chelsea
"Pedro wants more and I’m really happy with that kind of attitude. He wants to play, to win and to enjoy. I don’t want to say we won, Man United lost " - that’s not the point.
- Jose Mourinho
Jose eyes more, but coy on Stones, Pogba
An unhappy Jose Mourinho says Chelsea are ready to seize on opportunities in the remaining days of the transfer window, after capturing Pedro Rodriguez ahead of Manchester United.
The Spain forward signed for £21.4 million ($47m), with £2.1m of the payment comprised of performance-related add-ons, from Barcelona on Thursday, with the Premier League champions swooping for a player United had pursued for around a month.
Mourinho was asked if the arrivals of Pedro and Baba Rahman, a left back signed from German club Augsburg after last Sunday's 3-0 loss to Manchester City, provided a boost for his squad reeling from Chelsea's worst start in 17 years.
"Normally, we train very well. This week, we trained better than ever," Mourinho said ahead of tomorrow's clash at West Brom.
"Why? Because we are not happy. I'm not happy with the results, the players are not happy.
"We want to do better and the only way is to work well. New players are always welcome, so obviously I'm happy that both of them came to us.
"People used to call it the transfer window. I sometimes call it the opportunity window. While the window is open, there is always an opportunity."
World Cup and European Championship winner Pedro was described as "one of the best attacking players in the world".
"Normally, when you are (at Barcelona), you don't want to leave," Mourinho added.
"For many years, he won everything playing with (Lionel) Messi, with (Andres) Iniesta, with all these stars, but he wants more. I think (it) is an evident sign of ambition."
Mourinho was not prepared to comment on his medical team after the controversy which erupted when first-team doctor Eva Carneiro and head physiotherapist Jon Fearn were suspended for the City contest.
He also refused to be drawn on whether Chelsea would return to bid for defender John Stones despite Everton's rebuttal of a reported three bids, the latest of which was said to be £30m.
Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba has been linked with a £60m move to Stamford Bridge. Again, Mourinho refused to comment.
The Blues boss said: "I know that (Juve boss Massimiliano) Allegri was all summer speaking about Oscar and Ramires, but I don't do that with Juventus players."
But Mourinho said any opportunities which presented themselves before the transfer window closure on Sept 1 had to be assessed.
Any activity could affect Juan Cuadrado, Oscar, Ramires and Willian, but Mourinho gave short shrift to suggestions of departures.
Captain John Terry is likely to start in defence at West Brom despite being substituted at half-time at City, while goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois will return from suspension in place of Asmir Begovic.
Manuel Pellegrini became the latest manager with a surname beginning with the letter P to beat Mourinho's Chelsea - Tony Pulis has won his last two encounters against Mourinho while at Crystal Palace and, in May, at West Brom.
"I wouldn't mind to go to the superstitious side of the game," Mourinho said.
"I never win against a P and seasons where I start with a 2-2 at home, I win the treble.
"2-2 Porto-Belenenses, we won the treble (in 2004), 2-2 Inter-Bari, we won the treble (in 2010). 2-2 against Swansea?" - PA Sport.