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By Adam Bate. Last Updated: 31/01/14 6:34am
From: FC Basel
Mohamed Salah left his homeland to join Swiss club FC Basel on June 15th 2012 - his 20th birthday. The Egypt international caught the attention of English clubs when he scored in a win over Tottenham in the quarter finals of the Europa League before also finding the target in the semi-final defeat to Chelsea. Earlier this season, he netted again against the Blues and his efforts were rewarded with a move to Stamford Bridge on a five-and-a-half year contract.
"I'm very happy to sign for Chelsea, such a big club in the world. I hope I can make the Chelsea supporters happy and have a good career at the club for many years to come."
"He is a very talented player. I like the fact that he can play the same way our attacking players do, which is players with adaptability, to play right, left or behind the striker. He's young, he's fast, he's creative, he's enthusiastic. When we analysed him he looks the kind of humble personality on the pitch, ready to work for the team and to work and to adapt himself to a new life. He has some experience in Europe, the Europa League, Champions League, so he's not a naive boy arriving in the jungle." - Jose Mourinho, Chelsea manager.
Salah still a bit raw tactically but has progressed over the past 6-8 months, his intense playing style well-suited to English game.- Tor-Kristian Karlsen (@karlsentk) January 23, 2014
For all his qualities, Juan Mata's lack of pace in the press proved an insurmountable obstacle in allowing him to endearing himself to Mourinho. That's not a problem for Salah. The youngster has already proven in his short career that he is a significant weapon on the counter attack and Mourinho will relish his positional flexibility. Handed a long-term deal, Salah has time on his side in proving his worth to the Portuguese taskmaster.
Salah remains a raw prospect and the fact that 23 of his 47 league appearances for Basel came from the substitute bench suggests that he was largely viewed as an impact player in the Swiss Super League. That doesn't bode well for his hopes of securing a starting spot at one of Europe's top clubs. He may be more suited to Mourinho's style of play but it is difficult to be persuaded he belongs in the same stratosphere as the outgoing Mata.
With Willian in good form, Eden Hazard looking sensational and Oscar seemingly central to Mourinho's plans, Salah may have to wait for his opportunity but the long-term potential is huge. Expect to see the best of the Egyptian next season and beyond.