Football

Chelsea may regret January swap deal that sent Salah to Serie A

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Juan Cuadrado's move to Chelsea in January was without doubt the most talked about move of the mid season window.

However since the Colombian's arrival little has been said about the impact he is making and a lot more is being made of the player that moved in the opposite direction. 

When Fiorentina lost Cuadrado, their season looked to be set for free fall. Europa League knockout stages were on the horizon and pressure for a top four Serie A finish on, it seemed the only hope of achieving any success in the season would be to keep a hold of their star winger.

However in an unlikely move, it proved that the part player/cash deal that saw Cuadrado get his dream move has seen him fail to make an instant impression, which is the opposite of what you could say about his counterpart Mo Salah.

A familiar name to those who followed 'the Egyptian Messi' prior to his disappointing stint at Stamford Bridge, they would remember his dazzling displays in Switzerland at Basel that put him on the radar of Jose Mourinho, ironically with goals in both wins against Chelsea in the group stage of the Champions League last season. Mourinho had felt he'd seen enough and signed him in January 2014 for a fee of £11m. 

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The eagle-eyed punter and shrewd football hipster would've called this one of the coups of the season as the Egyptian looked set to excite and amaze the Premier League with his flair and creativity. That wasn't to be though, as in a 12 month time frame the midfielder played little over a handful of games (six starts to be precise) and only appearing once in the Champions League. The writing was bizarrely on the wall for the player and with Fiorentina unwilling to budge on the Cuadrado deal, Salah was used as collateral.

A sad end to what seemed like an exciting signing for Chelsea, and one which would leave a bitter taste in Salah's mouth as on his move to La Viola he admitted that he had experienced a troubled time at Chelsea and was eager to kick start his career again.

Rejuvenated and rebooted, Salah was welcomed with open arms to Florence as the Egyptian took only two weeks to equal the goal tally he'd achieved at Stamford Bridge and the player reminded the English viewers what they'd missed out on when he scored against Tottenham in the Europa League last month.

And the player is going from strength to strength, finding the net against Inter shortly after and of course bagging two goals against Juventus recently in the Italian Cup, one of which is certainly a contender for goal of the season. However it's not simply the goals that Salah is contributing, it's his brilliantly crafted passing, his intelligent runs, mazy dribbling and all round attacking efficiency that are finally being given centre stage.

But what exactly changed? And how have Chelsea missed out on this great talent? It comes down to a number of factors, one of the main ones being that Salah is no longer being forced to track back - a demand Mourinho enforces in his sides. This immediately limits a player like Salah's contribution.

He needs the energy for the final third and the 60 yard dribbles that have made his name for Basel and most recently tormented Juventus. Secondly, and probably most importantly, is the over indulgence of midfielders at Stamford Bridge. Often players have to push themselves physically and mentally for a spot in the Chelsea line up and have very little time for individuality, a trait that the Egyptian most poignantly utilizes. 

But the real reason? The bottom line is that Stamford Bridge doesn't suit a player like Mo Salah. Many criticized his work rate, his defensive capabilities and most importantly underestimated the impact he could make in the Premier League, however with already three goals in give games, it's almost a formality that the 22 year old's trickery and attacking prowess is not being taken for granted in Serie A.

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Topics:
Football
Italy Football
Premier League
Juan Cuadrado
Juan Cuadrado
Chelsea
Serie A

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