Salah replaces Chelsea’s Cuadrado
Fiorentina lost Juan Cuadrado to Chelsea as the winger moved to London on the transfer deadline day for a deal worth around £23million.
Losing Cuadrado is a blow to the Viola’s push for a top-three finish in Serie A, however, they have struck another deal with Chelsea, signing winger Mohammed Salah on an 18-month loan contract.
As the deal looks like an exchange between the two clubs, the arrival of Egyptian Salah may soften the blow for the Italian side after losing a player that has been one of their best over the last three seasons since he joined from Lecce in 2012.
The Colombian showed the world what he could do with his five appearances in the World Cup as he scored once and created four goals in Brazil. The winger is well known for his pace but also for his ability to play as an out-and-out winger or as a wing-back in a 3-5-2 system.
In his 17 league appearances in Italy this season, Cuadrado contributed to eight goals, scoring four and assisting four. It is not obvious where the winger will fit in Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side but he adds another dimension to the Premier League leaders’ squad.
Mourinho’s squad is by no means the biggest in the league and his new signing provides pace, direct dribbling and a goal threat. If the Colombian is set for a spot in the first XI, it would most likely be in place of Willian. The Brazilian is a fixture on the Chelsea right but faces competition for his place with Cuadrado’s arrival.
One player who might welcome the arrival of Cuadrado is Eden Hazard. The Belgian has made 28 appearances in all competitions this season. The new arrival could therefore see Hazard’s game time managed as Chelsea chase the Premier League title and face Paris St-Germain in the Champions League.
Cuadrado’s replacement, Salah, arrives in Florence having disappointed at Chelsea since his move from Swiss side Basel last January. The season-and-a-half loan gives the Egyptian the chance to prove his worth as well as put himself in the shop window for a future move.
The 22-year-old has made only five appearances for Chelsea this season, just one start, and the move to Fiorentina is a chance to rejuvenate his young career. Salah is almost a direct replacement for Cuadrado as both offer genuine width and pace.
Fiorentina are still in with a chance of a top-three finish, the Serie A betting on Bet365 offering 15/2 that they qualify for the Champions League places. Meanwhile, the Viola are still in the Europa League – where they will face Chelsea’s London rivals, Tottenham.