Fiorentina boss Vincenzo Montella has hinted that Jose Mourinho may have made a transfer mistake by paying €33 million for Juan Cuadrado in the January transfer window and also letting Mohamed Salah move to the Serie A outfit on loan for the remainder of the season.
The Special One’s desperation to get Cuadrado, who was consistently impressive for both club and country last year, ended up meaning that he consented to letting Salah move the other way temporarily.
Salah for Cuadrado
The Egyptian winger had struggled to settle at Stamford Bridge having arrived in 2014, and the surplus of attacking options Mourinho has at his disposal meant first-team opportunities were always going to be limited.
However he appears to have hit the ground running since his switch to La Viola, and his goal against Tottenham Hotspur during Fiorentina’s Europa League victory last night was all the proof needed that he’s still capable of shining on the European stage.
Montella certainly thinks as much, and his suggestion that Salah and Cuadrado are ‘similar players’ on the pitch, as relayed by Goal, could be perceived to be a smug jibe at Mourinho.
"Salah is a player that, even if he takes some breaks, is devastating over 40 or 50 yards,” Montella said.
“Who did better out of the Cuadrado exchange? Fiorentina earned a lot of money and, on the pitch, they are similar players.”
"Fiorentina earned a lot of money and, on the pitch, they are similar players"
Just how effective Cuadrado will go on to be for the Blues is a question that can only be answered in time. The Colombia international hasn’t produced anything memorable but it’s very early days yet, and Mourinho’s statement that his new arrival could be having teething problems as he adapts isn’t preposterous in the slightest.
Difficulties in the future
Yet even if he does sparkle at Stamford Bridge fans could be left to wonder what might have been regarding Salah. The 22-year-old dazzled whilst at FC Basel - his Champions League form for the Swiss giants was what prompted Mourinho to buy him in the first place - and there’s a fair argument to make that he was never given the chance to show his true potential in England.
At the moment perhaps it’s fair to say that Montella and Fiorentina have got the better end of the deal. If Salah can replicate Cuadrado’s feats in Italy their attack will have lost none of its potency, and the €33 million received in transfer fees will be a welcoming boost to their bank balance.
Of course part of that could be put towards capturing Salah permanently in the summer if he continues to impress, whilst one gets the feeling it will be far more difficult for Cuadrado to acclimatise to the Premier League.
Chelsea fans, was Cuadrado’s purchase and Salah’s subsequent exit the right move by Mourinho? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below...