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Dear Jose Mourinho, stay away from Inter's players

We love you, but back off.

Clive Mason/Getty Images

As Jose Mourinho edges closer and closer to the Manchester United job, the English press has gone into a feeding frenzy over who the former Inter boss would bring in to shape the team in his image. Unfortunately, it seems that Mourinho's main poaching target (or at least who the English press wants his main poaching target to be) is Inter. Over the past few days Mourinho's future ManU has been linked to Samir HandanovicMauro IcardiJoao Miranda, and Jeison Murillo. The most recent Miranda rumors have indicated a potential swap deal sending the Brazilian defender to the island in exchange for Spanish playmaker Juan Mata. I was originally going to make this article about that swap deal and how it was a stupid idea that would never happen; but considering the fact that the last time I did that the player in question actually joined the club, instead I'm going to make this an open letter to The Special One himself.

Dear Jose,

Let me start by saying that this letter is not coming out of any personal animosity towards you. When you arrived at Inter you intrigued me. When you revolutionized the mentality of the team you captivated me. When you won the Treble you carved a place in my heart. When you left us for Real Madrid I still respected you. When you pulled a lot of...questionable shit during your time at Real Madrid and Chelsea I defended you. When you got sacked from Chelsea I felt sorry for you. And if you were ever to return to Inter I would welcome you with open arms. Now with all that being said, would you be so kind as to find another team to ravage in order to fix ManU (might I suggest a certain club in Turin)?

Now I'm sure that upon reading the previous question you scoffed and assumed that I'm only asking this because I don't want my club to lose its best players. That is half true, I don't want to see the spine of this team ripped out and I'll admit that I am 110% biased in this case. But I'm not writing this letter because of my feelings, I'm writing this letter because of your feelings O Special One-or at least the feelings that you have shown to the public.

What feelings you might ask? Well, the feelings of suffering you have felt when the club was struggling in recent times. The feelings of pure emotion you felt when you returned to the San Siro in February to watch Inter play. The feelings that the fans are special to you, the management is special to you, that the club is like a family to you and that you love this club. The feelings that made you state that you would be willing to return to this club sometime in the future. Those feelings are what made you more than just a truly great manager in the eyes of Inter fans, they are what made you a legend. But poaching this team's best players will be one of the quickest ways possible to shatter that legacy that you left here (besides of course joining that certain club in Turin).

I don't have a problem with you appreciating Inter's players Jose, it shows that this team does have athletes capable of performing at the highest levels of competition again.  I don't even have a problem with you eyeing a player or two on the team. The problem arises when the media keeps reporting that you are interested in four of the five players that form the bedrock of Roberto Mancini's team (and now watch rumors start that ManU wants to sign Gary Medel just to top off the list). That's not appreciation, that sabotage. That's taking the core of this team, the players that Mancini have relied upon the most the season. If you want to manage Inter's best players you might as well become Inter's manager again.

If you loved this club the way you made it sound you wouldn't be trying to destroy it, and let's be honest here taking more than two of those players in the same transfer market would seriously harm Inter and Mancini's project. One of them could be replaced without any radical changes being necessary and arguably the loss of two of them wouldn't be the end of the world as long as the right replacements were found. But any more than that would destabilize the side that Mancini has constructed, and for the first time in years the team is finally coming together in a coherent way. You saw this when you came and watched a match in February! Or was that nothing more than a scouting trip, a way to decide which players you wanted to take when you secured your next job?

Now if this were any other manager I wouldn't be writing this letter. Coaches poach players from one another all the time, that's what the transfer market is all about. But  the history that you have with this team and the emotions and kind words that have been shared even long after you departed along with the sheer number of players that you are reportedly interested in makes this feel wrong. I hope you can feel that too Jose.

I want to end this letter by admitting that all this is based on media speculation. You've never publicly expressed interest in signing any of these players and you haven't even officially accepted the Manchester United job. If these rumors are entirely false then please disregard this letter. If you're considering going after one of the players do what you want. If you're thinking about two of them I'd ask you to consider some other players first. If you have plans for more than two of them please take this letter to heart and consider what this will do to Inter, its fans, and your legacy at the club. You've burned bridges at a lot of clubs you departed from Mr. Mourinho but I always thought that you left behind a positive image of yourself here. Don't do something that would ruin that. You've always been The Special One here at Inter, don't become The Ruthless One.

An interista now and forever,


P.S. In case Piero Ausilio happens to be reading this: If Mourinho does come before you with a Glazer-backed warchest large enough to make Roman Abramovich and Florentino Perez blush, make him pay enough for him to have second thoughts. Because if he is going to set this bridge ablaze, you need to make sure we aren't the only ones who get burned.