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Is Eto’o signing proof that Mourinho hasn’t changed his short term thinking?

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Jose Mourinho came back to Chelsea this summer in the midst of much fanfare and applause.

In his first press conference he spoke of wanting more stability having moved around Europe, collecting trophies as he went.

Mourinho has tended to work in three year cycles and has built his teams to win as much as possible in that time frame, he has shown little interest in trusting or improving young players, unless of course those are the best players to help him achieve in the here and now.

The Chelsea squad he inherits has an abundance of talented young players, so did this need for stability mean a switch in his philosophy?

There have been plenty of minutes for the likes of Oscar, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and André Schürrle in the opening games of the season but these are hardly untested youngsters they are proven internationals with top countries.

It remains to be seen whether an untried youngster will get the chance regularly ahead of a more established option, Marco Van Ginkel playing ahead of Frank Lampard or Ramires for example.

The signing of Samuel Eto’o on a one year contract may well be evidence that Mourinho has not entirely moved away from a short term approach.

Three days later Romelu Lukaku went out on loan to Everton, having just returned from a spell with West Brom in which he scored 17 league goals.

The 20 year-old Belgian impressed in pre-season for Chelsea scoring 5 goals and it was widely expected that he would have a big part to play at Stamford Bridge this year.

He is quick, strong and has shown he can score goals. For the direct counter-attacking style Mourinho normally favours he seems a perfect choice to be the lone striker or at very least a more than capable option who wouldn’t sulk if he was left out.

Lukaku is not the finished article but here was an opportunity for Mourinho to coach and develop him into Chelsea’s number one striker, instead he will let Everton develop him and rely on a short term fix, although one with undoubted quality.

While Lukaku’s future has been decided for now, doubts remain over the role of Juan Mata in the Chelsea side.

The Spaniard was Chelsea’s best player last season but 64 minutes against Aston Villa is the only game time he has seen so far this campaign.

Rumours linking him with a move away from the club started almost as soon as Mourinho arrived back at the club, with suggestions that there are too many attacking midfielders in the squad to keep them all happy.

Chelsea’s signing of Willian perhaps strengthened that theory but it would seem bizarre for a player of Mata’s quality to be marginalised by Mourinho.

The Portuguese doesn’t like too many smaller players in his teams and Mata is less direct than Hazard, De Bruyne or Schürrle, he doesn’t have the explosive pace of those players which may indict he is less likely to fit what Mourinho wants to do.

That being said Mata is not a player you want to lose and indeed Chelsea had an opportunity to sell him in the window which they haven’t taken.

The more likely outcome is that Mata is integrated into Mourinho’s new side at some stage, but whether he’ll be as significant a player as in the last two seasons remains to be seen.

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