Friday 15 December 2017

Cuadrado signs for Chelsea after duo exit the Bridge

Juan Cuadrado has described his move to Chelsea from Fiorentina as a 'dream'. Photo: Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images
Juan Cuadrado has described his move to Chelsea from Fiorentina as a 'dream'. Photo: Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Ian Herbert

Chelsea finally wrapped up a complicated week of negotiations as Jose Mourinho replaced squad players Andre Schurrle and Mohamed Salah with a man tipped to make a significant impact on the Premier League title race, Juan Cuadrado.

Cuadrado described his move from Fiorentina as a "dream", with Chelsea, the Premier League leaders, paying an initial fee of £23.3m that will rise to meet the Colombian's buy-out clause of £26.8m.

Salah moved in the opposite direction on loan, while Chelsea offset the Cuadrado fee by recouping a £24.1m fee for Schurrle from Wolfsburg, with an extra £3.7m to potentially come in add-ons.

Schurrle's departure is the latest in a line of significant profits Chelsea have made on sales over the past 12 months.

The German World Cup-winner moved to Stamford Bridge in 2013 for £18m from Bayer Leverkusen. In January last year, Chelsea sold Juan Mata to Manchester United for £37m and Kevin de Bruyne joined Wolfsburg for £18m. In the summer, Paris St-Germain paid £50m for David Luiz and Everton signed Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku for £28m.

All of those four players had fallen out of favour with manager Mourinho, and Schurrle has found himself behind Willian and Oscar in the Stamford Bridge pecking order this season.

Chelsea had planned to address their right-sided options in the summer, but accelerated their interest in Cuadrado when it became clear they could get big money for Schurrle in the January transfer window.

Cuadrado was one of the stand-out performers of the World Cup finals last summer and is expected to put immediate pressure on Willian for a first-team place. The 26-year-old is lightning quick and shared the record for the most assists at the World Cup with Germany's Toni Kroos, setting up four goals.

While Mourinho is a big fan of Willian's work-rate, the Brazilian is often criticised for not assisting or scoring enough goals. Cuadrado has been signed to solve that problem.

After signing a four-and-a-half-year contract to join Chelsea, Cuadrado said: "First of all I am very happy and thankful for this opportunity I've been given. This is a great club and, honestly, it is like a dream to join the Chelsea family and to know that the manager believes in me."

Cuadrado has 37 international caps for Colombia, scoring five goals, and has previously been watched closely by Manchester United.

Other than Chelsea profiting from the sale of Schurrle, the player himself is believed to have made money out of the deal.

The German (24) was earning £80,000 a week at Stamford Bridge, but he is understood to have signed a deal worth £85,000-a-week at Wolfsburg.

Salah joined Chelsea for £11m from FC Basel in January last year, but he has made little impact on the first team. The Egyptian agreed a deal in principle to join Roma on loan almost two weeks ago, but the Italian club backed out of the transfer. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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