Juan Mata's departure has sent Chelsea fans into an abyss of sadness, with a player they thought was destined to become a club legend. Unfortunately this hasn't been the case; the Spaniard has moved to Manchester United for a grand total of £37.1m, a club record fee for the Red Devils.
There is a silver lining however, as Chelsea recently announced the signing of long-term Liverpool target Mohamed Salah from Basel; somewhat a replacement for Mata. The question on most Chelsea fans' minds however is whether he'll be able to fill the void left by the two-time player of the year and, more importantly, whether he'll be able to fit into the Chelsea style of play.
Salah is a quick and skilful winger who has also been likened to Argentine Lionel Messi; 'The Egyptian Messi' being his nickname. This is mainly because of the pace and dribbling ability shown by the youngster at Swiss side Basel.
It all started for Salah however in his home country Egypt, starting out his career at his local team El Mokawloon. Here he managed to rack up 41 appearances, scoring 11 goals for the Egyptian side. Throughout his career so far Salah has managed to scored 52 goals and grab 35 assists in a total of 162 games, these being quite impressive for a midfielder of Salah's nature.
At Chelsea to begin with, it is doubtful whether Salah would be able to cement a place in the starting 11 in his first season.
This is mainly due to the fact that Chelsea's main attacking midfield trio are in exemplary form at this part of the season, Hazard, Oscar and Willian proving to be some of the best midfielders in the league.
To break up such a force when attacking might be considered as a risky move for Mourinho, so the likelihood is that Salah will add to the depth of the squad for now but if he impresses enough there is the possibility that he may make a step up into the starting line up.
Does Salah act as a direct replacement for Mata however? Most probably not. Salah is more in the Hazard-type mould, a quick, creative winger that can cut inside with his stronger foot and confuse defenders alike. Therefore this signing acts as an alternative for Mata in Mourinho's perspective, as he believes Oscar can fill the shoes left by two-time player of the year and thinks the Brazillian has the potential to surpass the quality shown by the Spaniard at the West London club.
If Salah settles in and is given time to adapt, then it's guaranteed that the Egyptian winger will add some serious firepower to an already strong Chelsea midfield, giving them that X factor that they need to surprise opponents and win the tougher games that come throughout the season.
It is clear that this is a signing for the future by Mourinho and not a direct replacement, but at £11million, Brendan Rodgers will be gritting his teeth for missing out on such a bargain.
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