IT cannot be denied that Jose Mourinho knows how to win and when he arrived at Chelsea he turned Claudio Ranieri’s happy bunch of players into a highly efficient trophy-gathering machine.
The players had their roles, all strictly controlled by the Portugeezer as part of his grand plan. The only thing lacking was a bit of style, a bit of elan, and apparently this was beginning to needle Red Rom the owner. The team also had only one striker in the shape of Didier Drogba. A good solution to both these problems was identified by Abramovich as being a small Ukranian man.
On this day in 2006 Chelsea broke the English transfer fee record when they signed Andriy Shevchenko from AC Milan. The exact figure they paid is not known but it is believed to be more than the £30m Rio Ferdinand cost Manchester United in 2002.
He said on signing: “I am here for the challenge and the excitement of the Premier League.
“I am going from one big club to another and joining a team of champions.
“There is a right moment to join a football club and I think I have arrived here at the perfect time.
“The Champions League has to be a realistic target for next season but it is not just about the Champions League. Chelsea is going for their third Premiership as well and I like the club’s mentality of wanting to win every game they play.
“I have followed Mr (Jose) Mourinho’s career carefully for the last few years and have been hugely impressed with the way he manages.”
Mourinho enthused in a similar vein: “Today is a day when the dream became reality. Andriy has always been my first choice for Chelsea since I arrived.
“Before it was not possible, now it is for real. He has great qualities, ambition, discipline, tactical awareness and of course he is a great goalscorer.
“I did not need to meet with him to convince him about Chelsea, in the same way we did not need to talk a lot about why I wanted him. Everybody knows him as a player, tactically he can play in the Chelsea system no doubt.”
The only problem was that, as long as Drogba was in the team, Sheva couldn’t really play in the Chelsea system which always worked best with only one striker and the suspicion abounded that the Ukranian captain was really Ambramovich’s signing rather than Mourinho’s.
As the weeks and the months of the new season went by Sheva’s expected goal avalanche never materialised and he began to look more and more like a marginal figure on the Chelsea bench.
Meanwhile his presence at the club was causing bigger problems when Avram Grant was brought in as Director of Football to work specifically with the mis-firing £30m man, without Mourinho’s approval. By mid September 2007 Jose had left the club and with Grant installed as manager in his place things perhaps looked up for Sheva who probably thought he might actually get a game.
It was not to be though and in January Grant spent £15m on Nicholas Anelka – not a good sign when Sheva himself couldn’t get in the team.
With Grant now given his marching orders as well it remains to be seen whether the new man in charge at Stamford Bridge will be able to coax any form out of the man who was one of the most lethal hit men in European football until he came to England. Have a look at the footage below to see the form Sheva used to show in a Milan shirt and come back tomorrow for more from us.