LONDON, United Kingdom, Dec 29 – Jose Mourinho has challenged Jurgen Klopp to explain Liverpool spending Sh10.4 bn (£75m) on Virgil van Dijk after the Anfield boss criticised Manchester United’s world record signing of Paul Pogba last year.
Van Dijk will become the most expensive defender in history when he completes his move to Liverpool from Southampton next week.
But Mourinho reminded Klopp about his comments when United bought Pogba for a then world record fee of Sh12.4bn (£89m) from Juventus in the summer of 2016.
The German said then: ‘Other clubs can go out and spend more money and collect top players, yes. But if you bring one player in for Sh13.9bn (£100m) or whatever, and he gets injured, then it all goes through the chimney.
“Do I have to do it differently to that? Actually, I want to do it differently. I would even do it differently if I could spend that money. I want a special team spirit – I don’t feel it is necessary, I want it,” he said.
“The day that this is football, I’m not in a job anymore. Because the game is about playing together.”
Mourinho seized the opportunity to take issue with Klopp when asked about the Van Dijk deal at his weekly press conference on Friday, with a thinly veiled accusation of hypocrisy.
“I think the one to speak about it in a specific way has to be Jurgen, and if I was one of you I would ask him about his comments about one year ago,” he added.
“Virgil van Dijk is the most expensive defender in history of football. Is he better than (Paolo) Maldini, (Giuseppe) Bergomi or (Rio) Ferdinand? You cannot say that, is just the way the market is and you pay or you don’t pay.”
“If you pay obviously you pay a crazy amount of money but if you don’t you don’t have the player. Is as simple as that, so no critics at all about what Liverpool did, is just the way it is. But not speaking specifically about that case because in Liverpool they do what they want to do and I am nobody to comment on what they do.”
“The reality is that if they think that the player is the right player for them and they really want the player, they pay his amount or they don’t have the player because that is the way the market is at that time.”
“So when we compare now the amount of money certain managers and clubs spend, you cannot compare the realities.”