Looks like the race for the “Egyptian Messi” is over with Chelsea announcing this afternoon that they have agreed to a fee with S FC Basel for the signature of long-term Liverpool target Mohamed Salah.
The 21-year old, who appeared bound for Merseyside after a drawn out courting process saw the Reds in “advanced talks” with the Swiss side, is now destined for Stamford Bridge with only a routine medical and the players personal terms left to be finalized. Rumours were swirling that Blues manager Jose Mourinho would go in for the promising winger after agreeing to allow Juan Mata to join Manchester United yesterday, and a short statement from the London club confirmed the capture.
“Chelsea Football Club can confirm an agreement has been reached with FC Basel for the transfer of their 21-year-old attacking midfielder Mohamed Salah” rang out from the headlines as Liverpool missed out on a player that could have boosted their claim to a Champions League place going into the business end of the season. The Reds, who have been blighted by injuries, sit in fourth place going into Tuesday’s meeting with cross-town rivals Everton with a mere two points separating the sides.
Transfer business has been in short supply at Anfield this winter with Rodgers playing down moves for potential targets and telling the press that moves will only be made if the right targets are available. While that jives perfectly with Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group’s long-standing transfer policy, missing out on Salah will certainly be seen as a failure – even if he’s destined to sit on the bench in London for the remainder of the season before going out on loan.
Some players would rather get paid than get played…