On Thursday afternoon Chelsea announced an agreement had been reached with FC Basel to purchase young Egyptian winger Mohammed Salah. With the rising star expected to agree to personal terms and complete a medical without any issues, West London will welcome one of Europe’s brightest attacking talents.
Many expected Salah to end up in the Premier League during this January transfer window.
But at Chelsea? Really?
Jose Mourinho seems to be well stocked with wide players, with the likes of Eden Hazard, Willian and Andre Schurrle plus the likes of Oscar and Ramires can put in a shift on the flanks. Then they have youngster Marco van Ginkel, while wingers Victor Moses and Marko Marin are both out on line.
Six out-and-out wingers, plus two flexible central players who can play out wide, seems far too many to have on the books. However with Kevin de Bruyne signing for Wolfsburg and Juan Mata halfway out the door, I understand why Mourinho is replenishing his attacking unit.
But the big question is: are Chelsea hoarding some of Europe’s best young attackers just to stop other PL teams from improving?
Liverpool and Tottenham were incredibly close to signing Willian in the summer window, then Chelsea nipped in at the last minute to make a slightly bigger offer and the Brazilian winger was off to Stamford Bridge. The same is about to happen with Salah.
Since Mourinho returned to the PL, Chelsea have taken transfer trolling to the next level.
Salah, 21, will be a great signing for now and the future as the Egyptian international possesses tricks, flicks and bags of pace, the latter will suit him well in the PL. Plus Chelsea know all about his qualities as the Blues have had a really good look at the youngster in the UEFA Champions League this season. Salah scored home and away against Chelsea in two shock wins for FC Basel.
Mourinho has seen the young wide player, who mainly operates on the right, dazzle against his current crop of players and has decided he’s worth going that extra mile for.
Liverpool were said to have been extremely close to signing Salah, but Chelsea came in at the last minute and usurped them with a bid of around $24 million. That is much more than Liverpool valued him at and therefore, once again, ‘moneybags’ Chelsea win the race.
I have nothing against Chelsea stockpiling the best young talent at all, after all it’s their money to spend, but will these players really get the chance to shine on the big stage? Mourinho has repeatedly talked about the project he is overseeing at the Bridge and how his ‘kids’ are learning and developing, if he is true to his word and plays all of the 21,22 and 23-year-old’s he has then fair play.
With Salah expected to come on board and other PL teams frustrated as they constantly lose their top targets to Chelsea, Mourinho’s aim to keep those team challenging for the top four way out of the picture is working.
But how much longer, especially with the new Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules being ushered in, can Chelsea continue to buy every top player being courted by PL clubs? Right now, it seems like it’s never-ending.
Especially if you’re clubs aspiring to make the top four (ahem, Liverpool and Tottenham) as Chelsea’s monopoly continues.