“It was a personality clash. I just didn’t think it was working at the time.”
Chelsea’s former head of the loan department Eddie Newton has revealed that Mohamed Salah and Kevin De Bruyne were allowed to leave the club due to a ‘personality clash’ with then-manager Jose Mourinho.
Since leaving Stamford Bridge, both Salah – who holds the record for the most goals scored in a Premier League season (32) – and De Bruyne – who is widely regarded as one of the league’s best midfield talents – have gone on to achieve both personal and club success.
They are arguably the two most high-profile ‘what ifs’ that were sold by the London outfit, with both players being loaned out before eventually moving on during their short careers in a blue shirt.
Newton, who played a significant role in the creation of the department that monitors the progress of the club’s loan players, believes that the decision to sell De Bruyne and Salah did not come down to their talent.
“I think Salah and De Bruyne wasn’t about talent,’ Newton told Goal.
“It was a personality clash [with Jose Mourinho]. I just didn’t think it was working at the time.”
De Bruyne joined Chelsea in 2012 after impressing in his native Belgium with Genk, spending the remainder of the season on loan at the Cegeka Arena.
The midfielder was then loaned to Werder Bremen for the duration of the 2012/13 season, impressing in Germany before being told that he would be in Mourinho’s plans moving forward.
However, his return to the Bridge did not go as planned and he was later sold to Wolfsburg where he scored 20 goals and registered 37 assists in just 73 games.
His impressive form in the Bundesliga attracted interest from Manchester City, who eventually bough the Belgian for a reported fee of £40million in 2015.
Salah arrived two years after De Bruyne, signing from Basel for a fee reported to be close to £11million after dazzling in Switzerland.
Having made just three appearances in the Premier League for Chelsea, the Egyptian was then loaned out to Fiorentina.
The winger failed to work his way into Mourinho’s plans and was loaned to Roma before making that move permanent for around £20million.
Salah’s electric form in Italy secured him a move to Anfield in 2017, where he has gone on to win the Premier League and Champions League, alongside breaking numerous individuals records.
For Newton, he thinks Salah and De Bruyne’s careers at Chelsea “wasn’t going to work” because the manager and players had different approaches to the game.
“I think they were more than good enough,” he added. “But it was the manager who didn’t see eye-to-eye with them, so it wasn’t going to work.”
In total, Salah has played 16 times against Chelsea, scoring six times and assisting twice, whereas De Bruyne has featured against them on 15 occasions, scoring four goals and grabbing one assist.
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