Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has been forced to wait until next year for a possible reunion with Stamford Bridge flop signing Mohamed Salah after Fiorentina extended the winger's loan deal until the end of 2015.
The London Evening Standard reports that the Serie 'A' giants have triggered an option to keep the Egypt international at Stadio Artemio Franchi not only for the remainder of this campaign, but the first half of 2015/16 as well.
As part of the initial agreement that took Salah to Italy, Vincenzo Montella's side have first refusal to secure the 22-year-old's services on a temporary deal next term, providing they pay £1.5 million for the privilege.
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And, after careful consideration La Viola have decided to meet those expectations with a view to purchasing the player on a permanent basis at the start of 2016.
Mourinho allowed Salah to leave west London in search of regular first-team football in the mid-season window following a difficult first 12 months with the Blues, during which time he started just six Premier League games after an £11 million move from Swiss outfit FC Basel in January 2014.
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However, the fleet-footed forward hit the ground running in Florence and notched six goals in his first seven games in all competitions for his parent club, prompting some Chelsea supporters to question why Salah wasn't given more of a chance in England.
The goals have dried up over the past few weeks since the wide-man's two goal salvo and man of the match performance in the 2-1 Coppa Italia victory over Juventus on March 5, but he did get on the scoresheet in Saturday's 2-0 win against Sampdoria.
Clearly Salah's contribution has remained important in the eyes of Montella, who wasted little time in snapping up the player's signature for the rest of the calendar year.
Fiorentina will be required to fork out another £9.5 million plus add-ons next January to make the deal permanent, but could face competition from domestic rivals Juventus and AS Roma who have both been credited with an interest in the Chelsea outcast.
What does the future hold?
Of course, there could still be a way back for Salah with the Premier League leaders, particularly in light of the struggles that his replacement Juan Cuadrado has had since joining Chelsea in a £26.1 million deal in January.
The Colombia international has failed to score or assist in seven appearances for the Blues so far, with just two of those matches coming from the start.
Chelsea fans: Would you like to see Mohamed Salah given another chance at Stamford Bridge in 2016? Or should Jose Mourinho cash-in on the Egyptian? Have your say below…
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