Was another winger really what Chelsea needed? Signing Mohamed Salah seems more like an attempt to keep Liverpool from getting the player than actually purchasing him out of need. Maybe they simply got tired of him scoring against them.
The 21 year old Egyptian star scored three times in four matches against Chelsea over the last two years with Basel, so maybe that has something to do with it. However, considering that Chelsea’s system includes three attacking midfielders/wingers and Salah isn’t going to move Oscar of Eden Hazard from the lineup, he is battling for one remaining spot with 3-4 other players. Being an £11 million signing doesn’t promise him anything.
Are there places Chelsea needed more than another direct and tricky winger? Probably. Nemanja Matic on paper is an excellent signing to help the team’s limited central midfield. Juan Mata was sold in order to cover the cost, because Chelsea, trying to stay within the guidelines of the Financial Fair Play, don’t want to be in too much of a loss. But Chelsea have bigger issues when it comes to their full backs, not the attacking midfield. So why Salah?
Selling Juan Mata was to make money, but also about weakening the opposition; Manchester United isn’t a team Jose Mourinho considers as the opposition, so he didn’t mind selling Mata to them. What about next year? It doesn’t matter. He cares about Manchester United, already playing Chelsea twice this season, having matches against Arsenal and Manchester City and yes, even Liverpool, down the line. Mata is more useful to him playing for someone else.
Where does Salah fit in to all this? Well, just another player in the rotation, who can come up off the bench. Andre Schurrle is the same kind of player, and Willian is also someone that Salah needs to contend with for some minutes. Lets say they’re all at the same level of ability (which they’re not), the pressure on Mourinho to use them will come from the money spent on each player, and Salah loses in that category as well.
A good signing? Probably. One that will help Chelsea win the championship (not the Champions League, he can’t play)? Possibly. But will he actually get plenty of minutes? That’s not easy to expect. Mourinho has already made up his mind about the players he wants to go to battle with, and suddenly tinkering with rotations and new options doesn’t sound like a likely course of action. How long till Salah asks to be loaned out to someone else? That’s not going to be surprising at all.