Wednesday, January 19

The sale that haunts Chelsea: – He was like Messi in training

Watch Chelsea – Liverpool on TV 2 Sport Premium and TV 2 Play on Sunday at 17.30.

In football, there are many stories about what could have been. Talents who got injured, coaches who got fired, transitions that never happened and sales of players who later became superstars.

For some, the story of Mohamed Salah is one such story. In January 2014, the relatively unknown Egyptian was brought to Chelsea for a modest transfer fee.

He was young, short-haired, beardless and a player who was to be an alternative to the established line of attack. A man for the future.

And the club got it right. Mohamed Salah was to become one of the biggest stars of the future.

But he was in Liverpool.

Couped the purchase

Already the year before Salah was brought in by the London club, Liverpool’s scouts followed him closely. With his speed and technique, the fast Basel wing had greatly impressed the Swiss league, and gradually began to show itself to the rest of Europe.

Among other things, he had scored one goal against Chelsea in the Europa League – and two against the same club in the Champions League.

SUBSTITUTE: Mohamed Salah never managed to play for a permanent place in Chelsea’s starting eleven. Photo: GLYN CHURCH

After those achievements, Salah, according to The Guardian, was close to being picked up by Liverpool for 80 million kroner. But when the transfer window opened in January, Chelsea put 120 million on the table and couped the Egyptian talent.

The following year, Salah started just six Premier League games. In February 2015, the club therefore decided to loan him to Fiorentina.

In an interview with ESPN Brazil then-Chelsea manager José Mourinho later explained why:

– He even asked to be lent out, so we decided to do it. He wanted more playing time to mature, so we sent him on loan to Fiorentina.

– Messi in training

The decision came as a surprise to some of the club’s players, who had been impressed by the young Egyptian in training for over a year. They were surprised that he did not get more chances from Mourinho at Chelsea.

Among them left-back Filipe Luis, as in an interview with The Guardian earlier this year said the following:

– In training he was like Messi. Really. Ask anyone.

– When he went to Fiorentina, I asked him: «Why are you leaving? This is Chelsea ». He replied, “I need to play.” I thought this boy is good. He did not go for money or to win more, he went to show that he could play, the Brazilian continued.

IMPRESSED IN ITALY: Mohamed Salah gained momentum in his career at Fiorentina.  Photo: Fabrizio Giovannozzi

IMPRESSED IN ITALY: Mohamed Salah gained momentum in his career at Fiorentina. Photo: Fabrizio Giovannozzi

And in Serie A, Salah was shown what he was good at. After six months in Fiorentina, Roma loaned him out. The following year, the transition was made permanent.

Salah had been separated from Chelsea. He was sold for around 140 million kroner.

Salah’s revenge

The rest of the story is well known. In 2016, the curly top played great in the Italian capital, in the summer of 2017 he was brought to Liverpool for around 400 million kroner.

Salah scored in the Premier League comeback against Watford, then he scored again. Again. And again. When Chelsea were on the opposite half of the field in November, he had already sent nine balls into the net.

Against his old club he put the tenth, after being played through by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Salah failed to celebrate, but pointed to the sky.

COMEBACKET: In his first meeting with Chelsea in the return to the Premier League, Mohamed Salah scored.  Photo: PHIL NOBLE

COMEBACKET: In his first meeting with Chelsea in the return to the Premier League, Mohamed Salah scored. Photo: PHIL NOBLE

He had become a star in the Premier League. For one of Chelsea’s fiercest rivals.

– I was not allowed to play in Chelsea. It’s just to look at the statistics. I never got the chance. But when I finally got it, I have disproved a lot of people, Salah said in an interview with Sky Sports.

– In my head I have to perform here, because when I left the Premier League, I said I would come back, he added.

Drogba saw the quality

When the calendar now shows 2022, many believe that Mohamed Salah is the world’s best football player. He has won both the league and the Champions League with Liverpool, been the top scorer in the Premier League and a guarantor of goal points for several seasons.

Right now he is again the league’s top scorer, and according to the experts, English football’s undisputed ones.

– I watched training, and all the teammates will say the same thing, that it was quality there. He only needed playing time to show his talent and quality, said Chelsea legend Didier Drogba in an interview with the Egyptian TV channel Mehwar earlier this year.

So why did he never get the chance at Chelsea?

– If you look at the stable we had at that time, it was not easy to get playing time, Drogba explained.

Mourinho’s explanation

Eden Hazard, Willian and Oscar were the Egyptians’ competitors. Therefore, the then manager José Mourinho will not take the blame for Salah becoming one of the world’s best players in a club other than Chelsea.

– I was the one who asked Chelsea to buy Salah. But he came as a young boy, who was not physically ready to play. Mentally, he was not ready either. He had to adapt to the social and culture, it was tough for him, Mourinho said in the interview with ESPN Brazil.

There he was confronted with the club getting rid of Salah under his leadership.

COLLECTED SALAH: José Mourinho thinks he should be praised for bringing Mohamed Salah to Chelsea, not criticism that the club sold him.  Photo: Glyn Kirk

COLLECTED SALAH: José Mourinho thinks he should be praised for bringing Mohamed Salah to Chelsea, not criticism that the club sold him. Photo: Glyn Kirk

– People say that I was the one who sold Salah, but it is the opposite. I bought Salah, Mourinho said, and continued:

– When people say that I was the person who sold him, it’s a lie. I bought him. I agreed with the decision to send him on loan, it was necessary, because Chelsea had enough high-level wingers. But after we jointly decided to send him on loan, the decision to sell him and spend the money on another player was not mine.

When Salah was finally sold from Chelsea, Mourinho had been fired. In any case, the Portuguese does not see the sale as a mistake.

– Mistakes are made in football all the time. Players often develop differently than one expects, some never reach the level we had expected them to reach, he said.

But Salah did. On Sunday, he will have another opportunity to show Mourinho and Chelsea that they were wrong.

Watch Chelsea – Liverpool on TV 2 Sport Premium and TV 2 Play on Sunday at 17.30.

Reference-www.tv2.no

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