Monday,18 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1233, (12 - 18 February 2015)
Monday,18 December, 2017
Issue 1233, (12 - 18 February 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Mohamed Salah resurrected

Ex-Chelsea man finds new life in Fiorentina, reports Marawan Zayed

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Al-Ahram Weekly

Our Egyptian star Mohamed Salah finally decided to leave Chelsea and join Italian giants Fiorentina on loan for the remainder of the season after he lost hope of nailing a starting place in Chelsea’s star studded line-up.

Salah’s decision came after a heart-to-heart conversation with his manager Jose Mourinho who made it clear to Salah that even though he’s a wanted man at the club and that he has a future in London, his chances will always be limited due to the form of the terrific trio of Hazard, Willian and Oscar. Salah isn’t the only victim of their good form as World Cup star Schurrle left the club as well to join Wolfsburg back home as he grew frustrated with his playing time.

Salah was set to move to Roma but a last minute request from Fiorentina to include him in Cuadrado’s move to Chelsea sealed the next destination for our Egyptian star.

Salah himself made it clear he’s over the moon with the move “I am truly happy to be here,” Salah told Fiorentina’s television channel. “I really hope this is a step forward in my career. I know that my move to Fiorentina has generated a lot of interest in Egypt and I hope I can do well and help the team succeed.”

Salah won’t be away from London for long as Fiorentina will face Tottenham in the Europa League on 19February and Salah is already relishing the encounter. “I have already played against Tottenham twice in the Europa League and scored a very important goal for me and for Basel,” he said. “I also provided five assists in that competition. I am really excited about that meeting.”

Some Egyptian fans will feel sad to see Salah leave the best league in the world and a club like Chelsea and join the declining Italian league and a smaller club than Chelsea in Fiorentina. But in reality the love could be just perfect for Salah as at his age it’s vital to be playing week in week out and to feel important and he may just get that at his new club, especially that he’s joining them in the deal that saw their best player and who somehow plays in the same place, Cuadrado, moving the other way.

At first coach Montella said he didn’t know much about Salah but had heard good things about him in addition to receiving extremely positive feedback from the scouting team at the club before he himself said he was really impressed by Salah in training. “Salah has really impressed me, as he can play wide or as a support striker. The main plan is to be wide in a 4-3-3, while Diamanti can play behind the centre-forward. In theory, we can also play 4-3-1-2, but it’s an advantage to have more options.”

Salah already has a very big chance of winning a trophy with his new team as they’re in the semi-finals of the cup and will come up against the best team in the country Juventus, while the other game sees Napoli taking on Lazio.

Salah would have hoped to link up with fellow Egyptian defender Ahmed Hegazi but Hegazi signed for Serie B side Perugia on loan for the remainder of the season.

The next four or five months will be vital for Salah as he tries to prove he can compete with the best and play for the biggest European clubs. He already showed flashes of his brilliance in his first few months at Chelsea but suddenly his playing time became very limited and his feeling of being a wanted man at the club was in decline every day which persuaded him to ask Mourinho to let him go in January if any offers arrived, which happened.

Salah was happy that officials at Fiorentina were the ones to ask for his inclusion in Cuadrado’s deal and not Chelsea which made him feel wanted and motivated to do well. Montella asked the fans to be patient with Salah as he might take time to settle into his new club and new league but Salah himself surely knows he doesn’t have time to waste. Montella indicated that he might have to change the formation to fit Salah into it as he doesn’t think Salah will be able to defend a lot like the wingers in Montella’s current formation.  

On a separate note Salah made a wonderful move as he decided to wear number 74 at his new club in tribute to the 74 victims of the Port Said soccer riot disaster of three years ago. The tribute made by Salah was highly respected and acknowledged back in Egypt by the fans and pundits. Let’s all hope Salah will be a hit in Florence and will prove to Mourinho that he lost a gem when he let him go.

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