Speaking publicly for the first time since Monday’s transfer deadline, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was, as expected, asked about his latest signing, Colombian midfielder Juan Cuadrado from Fiorentina, right off the bat during his Friday press conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to Villa Park (Watch live on NBCSN and online via Live Extra, 9:45 am ET).
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Mourinho was quick to defend the $40-million purchase, brushing aside suggestions of a “panic buy.” Mourinho also backed Cuadrado to have a successful stay at Stamford Bridge, but also cautioned that fans and onlookers should, as he will, be patient with the 26-year-old.
“I don’t think it’s the best thing for him that I speak about expectations. He needs time, like everyone. It’s not a panic buy, it’s a reaction to [Andre] Schurrle’s departure. He’s a player we’ve known about for a long time. We are happy with our business.
“He fits into the Colombia national team and also Chelsea Football Club. He’s trained two days, he had the business situation until the last minute on Monday, on Tuesday he had to go to Paris for a visa, so he’s only trained twice.”
Cuadrado, who shined brightly for Colombia at the 2014 World Cup, scored racked up seven goals and four assists in 21 all-competition appearances for Fiorentina before completing his move to Chelsea.
It’s always wise to take a patient approach with new signings who have moved abroad, especially when that move comes mid-season. Cuadrado spent five and a half years in Serie A, and by the time he left Italy, he was one of the league’s top attacking players. It’s highly likely we won’t see the best of Cuadrado until next season, but when we do, Chelsea will be an even scarier prospect.
Mourinho, naturally, finished his comments regarding Cuadrado with a grumpy dig at the FA, who last week fined him $38,000 for comments made about a refereeing “campaign” against his team, saying Cuadrado is available for Saturday’s game against Aston Villa, “unless the Premier League or the FA say there are some rules to stop him.”
Never change, Jose. Never change.