Chelsea’s signature of Salah, and its impact on United and Liverpool

Premier League heavyweights Chelsea have been the busiest major English club in the transfer market this January, with news of a confirmed deal for Mohamed Salah making the press on Thursday.

The Egypt international moves to the west London outfit from FC Basel for a fee in the region of £12 million, and joins fellow new recruit Nemanja Matić, who was signed from Benfica earlier this month.

Salah is widely regarded as one of the brightest prospects in the European game, and has been a key reason for the continued progression of Swiss champions Basel. It was only a matter of time before the North African was plucked from the St. Jakob-Park outfit to start an adventure in one of Europe’s major leagues.

Ironically, it was the left winger’s performances and goals against Chelsea that have played the biggest part in shooting him into the limelight. Salah scored in three consecutive games against the Stamford Bridge side, and was a devastating attacking outlet for both of Basel’s victories over Chelsea in this season’s Champions League.

Salah’s addition will go some way to replacing Kevin De Bruyne, who was sold to Wolfsburg earlier in the window. The Egyptian will hope to fare better in England than the Belgian did, who found the sheer amount of attacking talent in direct competition with him for a place in the side too much, and his role at the club peripheral at best as a result.

Salah’s signature could well spark the departure of one of Chelsea’s other attacking midfielders, with the British press convinced that the new man has been brought to the club to cover for Manchester United-bound Juan Mata.

Mohamed SalahAlthough the Spaniard’s switch to Old Trafford is yet to be confirmed, relatively reliable sources inform the mass public that a deal could be sealed in the next couple of days, with the fee likely to break United’s club record.

Just why it hasn’t worked out for Mata at Stamford Bridge this season under José Mourinho remains to be seen, as the former Valencia schemer has been transformed from arguably the club’s most influential player to a fringe figure in a matter of six months.

Mourinho has consistently selected Eden Hazard as his chief protagonist on the left, and seems convinced that the Belgian and Mata are unable to be fielded in the same team.

Chelsea’s loss will be United’s gain, as the Premier League champions are adding a player of real quality to their squad who will play a significant part in neutralising the perceived lack of creativity in the Red Devils’ ranks.

Liverpool are also impacted by Salah’s move to Chelsea, as Brendan Rodgers’ men have been monitoring the skillful attacker for some time. The Merseysiders were favourites to sign Salah earlier in the month, but have seen the Egyptian slip through their fingers and head to a direct rival.

The Anfield outfit would have been made more of a rounded attacking unit with the addition of Salah, as Rodgers has been looking for a reliable option to play on this flank to free up Philippe Coutinho.

The Brazil international is perceived as a number ten who can link up with Liverpool’s potent strike force, but has been forced to play on the left to get a place in the side.

Salah’s first task is to make a good first impression on Mourinho in training and the Stamford Bridge faithful on the pitch. It is a drastic step-up for the Egypt international, who is clearly highly rated if he is being signed as an alternative to Mata.

By
I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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