Chelsea sign Colombia winger Juan Cuadrado from Fiorentina
Chelsea have significantly boosted their Champions League credentials after snapping up assist machine Juan Cuadrado from Serie A side Fiorentina, with their Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah heading in the opposite direction on loan in a deal thought to be worth up to as much as £26.8m.
Their price of 7/1 with Coral to win Europe’s elite club competition is terrific value and Cuadrado will be eligible to play for the Blues, having only appeared in the Europa League this season.
The 26-year-old topped the assist charts at World Cup in Brazil last year, racking up four, plus a goal, as Colombia reached the quarter-finals, only to be agonisingly knocked out by the hosts.
This season, he has scored four and set up three for Viola in 16 Serie A appearances, statistics which he could easily build on at Chelsea, servicing the prolific Diego Costa.
Fiorentina coach Vicenzo Montella said: “It was a sale that had to be done, the club has done the right thing because we are also getting a very good player.
“Naturally, we need to understand how long he (Salah) will need to adapt to our football as it’s different from the English and Swiss leagues.
“From a defensive standpoint, Cuadrado guarantees us a lot more than Salah.
“Cuadrado is a player that has always arrived with a smile and given everything to Fiorentina. I am convinced that if he could have played tomorrow he would have,” he continued.
“I’m happy for him because he is going to a big club.”
Predominantly a right winger, he is relatively versatile, being able to play, if the occasion called for it on either side or behind the striker, however, with Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian competing for places in those positions, he is likely to challenge the latter and fellow South American, for a berth on the right.