Three Wingers, Three Stories

Juan Mata was one of the best players for United last season, and his replacement for Chelsea in the January of 2014 was Mohammad Salah of Basel. He is on his way to a new home in Rome after being on the fringes at Chelsea for all of his time.


When Juan Mata departed, it was an emotional setback to every Chelsea fan, irrespective of their thought process. The team’s player of the year for two seasons in a row had been sold to long time rivals United. But Mourinho had chosen his number 10, it was Oscar.

The jury is still out on whether it was a good decision to give the Spaniard’s berth to the Brazilian, but if the form that Oscar showed in the first half of last season can be sustained for a full season, it should be a simple decision.

More open to Mourinho’s pressing approach, Oscar has shown that he can do it the best. All he needs to do is shed the inconsistency associated with any up and coming superstar and come of age. He is at the right age to do so and there is no better time for Oscar to dominate opponents for an entire season.

Coming back to Mohammad Salah, we have seen what he did in Italy with Fiorentina. Now he has swapped the English capital for the Italian one. AS Roma announced yesterday that day have acquired the Egyptian on a season long loan with the clause to buy at any point during the season.

  Salah was brought in to play on the right wing but so was Willian. Mourinho wants his players to play an attractive brand of soccer but be responsible at the same time. Salah’s pace is his biggest asset and it becomes very significant in the Serie-A. The English Premier League is a different cup of tea. The defenders are both pacey and stronger than Seria-A. His USP becomes of no use in the EPL.

He also does not seem thrilled with the idea of covering his Right Back, who in Chelsea’s case scored more goals last season than Salah has done in his entire time with Chelsea. The reluctance to perform and win the position in the squad has been punished harshly by Mourinho. He was ruthless on Kevin De Bruyne, Schurrle and more significantly on fan favourite Juan Mata himself. Here’s how things stood before Mourinho replaced Schurrle with Cuadrado and shipped Salah to Italy:

schurrle cuadrado
Schurrle and Cuadrado before moving in different directions in January courtesy: Goal

Salah now fits firmly in the mould of players who have already departed the club since Mourinho came back in 2013. However, as things have unfolded and despite all the Fiorentina Fiasco, everything is going to end in a positive way for everyone involved. AS Roma will play in the Champions League this season and it is imperative that Salah has been assured of a starting role there.

His magic with pace will come in handy again, especially with slightly better players than Fiorentina to support him. In short, he belongs there and the club is perfectly matched to his skills and ambitions. AS Roma have acquired a good goalscorer and chance creating winger suited and now proven in the league. He scored six goals, assisted three and created 30 chance for the Viola last season, playing only 16 games for the team.

Roma will have a good weapon to deploy on the wings against sloppy, slow defenders. Except when they play Juventus. Chelsea invested £11 million in the Egyptian winger in 2014. They are set to receive £3.5 million as compensation for this loan. Almost £11 million are set to be received when (and if) he is received well and is bought permanently by the Italians.

That’s an increment of almost £3 million pounds over what Chelsea had paid Basel. It is interesting that Salah had secured his transfer to his two previous teams by scoring against them but he hasn’t played against Roma yet. His replacement at Chelsea, or rather Schurrle’s was a duck Cuadrado. A random screenshot can say what words can never do about Cuadrado:

Squawka: Schurrle, Salah and Cuadrado: lost and found?

It is true that the duck didn’t get many minutes to prove his mettle but at least a single goal or assist? All he seems to be able to do is falling all over the place, all the time. Here’s hoping he finds his feet and challenges Willian for a place, who is ruling the roost at RW as of now. What do you think Chelsea got from the entire Salah, Schurrle and Cuadrado triads exchange?   And Yes, Now His Watch is Ended!

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