You can only wonder whether, when alone with his thoughts at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester, Jose Mourinho thinks about his greatest mistakes in football.
Chelsea got a combined £34million for those sales (£18m for De Bruyne and £16m for Salah) as both were deemed outcasts. Now, they are in a shoot-out to be named Player of the Year.
Salah’s Liverpool won 5-0 away at Porto in the Champions League with the Egyptian scoring the goal of the evening, as he juggled the ball over a helpless Jose Sa.
Both have been worthy of celebrating but only one can take the trophy for the season’s best player home. Here, we look at who will put that piece of silverware on their mantlepiece and why.
While Salah has managed half as many assists as De Bruyne, the 25-year-old has scored more than three times as many as his Manchester counterpart. All in his debut season at Anfield too.
That is the impact his return to England has had. In fact, nine Premier League teams have scored less league goals than Salah has been involved in (29, scoring 22 and assisting seven).
Liverpool lost Philippe Coutinho in January – a move which always appeared inevitable after his head was turned by Barcelona. Salah is their new superstar. The goals he has scored this campaign have contributed 13 points to Liverpool, with his two against Tottenham a fortnight ago turning a 2-0 loss into a 2-2 draw.