Chelsea announced the signing of midfielder Mohamed Salah prior to their FA Cup tie with Stoke City on Sunday. The Blues wooed the 21 year old away from Swiss Champions Basel, for a fee believed to be around $18m (£11m).
The Egypt international joined Basel in the summer of 2012, making his competitive debut for his new club in a Champions League preliminary round tie against Molde. Basel dropped into Europa League play, where they eventually met Chelsea in the semi-finals of last season’s tournament. Salah scored against the Blues in the Europa League semifinals at Stamford Bridge, although Chelsea went on to win 2-5 on aggregate.
This season, Basel progressed through the early rounds of Champions League play to the group stages, only to be drawn in the same group as Chelsea. Salah again scored at Stamford Bridge, putting in his side’s equalizer in what would be an ultimate 2-1 victory for the visitors. In the return fixture, Salah scored once more, this time the winner as Basel beat Chelsea once again.
Is there any wonder, then, that Chelsea needed to buy the attacker? And after selling Juan Mata to Manchester United for $61m (£37m), they had the cash in hand to strengthen the squad. Salah brings more versatility to the Blues, adding another option out wide. He’s best known for his pace, but, as evidenced from his displays against his new club, he’s also able to find the back of the net. And as Salah is just 21 years old, Chelsea have likely grabbed themselves a great investment.