Chelsea to likely be patient with Mohamed Salah 0

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Jose Mourinho confirmed prior to Chelsea’s game with Stoke that a deal had been completed for FC Basel’s Egyptian attacking-midfielder Mohamed Salah. Despite a rumoured fee of £11m for Salah and an additional £21m paid to Benfica for Nemanja Matic, Chelsea - via the sales of Juan Mata and Kevin De Bruyne - will emerge from the January window having made a healthy and FFP-appeasing profit.

The conversation will now turn to what kind of role Salah will play at Stamford Bridge and whether he’ll become a genuine first-team player. His chances are good; the Egyptian is a different player to any of the existing attacking-midfielders at Chelsea, and as such he will probably become a genuine option rather than just a back-up duplicate.

Even so, the club’s fans will have to be patient with him, because the transition to life under Mourinho will not be easy for Salah. The Portuguese demands a very high standard from his forwards, and the Egyptian will have to get used to not only a different, quicker style of play, but a greater level of defensive responsibility. We saw this earlier in the season with Willian: Mourinho doesn’t just throw flair players into his lineup, he uses them sparingly until they understand their obligations to the side as a whole.

Salah will make fleeting substitute appearances over the next few weeks, but he has to be afforded a grace period before being judged. Beyond the mental learning-curve he’s about to experience, his fitness levels will also likely need developing before he’s ready to start and influence games on a consistent basis.

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