Many were surprised when Chelsea announced the signing of FC Basel winger Mohamed Salah, late in the January transfer window. The young wideman, who started his career at Egyptian Premier League side El Mokawloon, joined the Blues for £11million, and will wear the number 15 shirt, after being heavily linked to Chelsea’s Premier League rivals Liverpool.
Salah played his youth football at El Mokawloon, and made his senior debut in May 2010, coming on as a substitute in a 1-1 draw against Mansoura. He became a regular for the side and made 41 appearances for the club, scoring 11 goals between 2010 and 2012. He has also represented Egypt at the U20, U23 and senior levels, plus represented his country at the 2011 U20 World Cup.
After monitoring Salah for some time, Swiss team Basel FC signed him on a four year deal in April 2012 following a friendly between Basel and Egypt U23 where Salah scored twice. His career quickly progressed at Basel and he became known for his blistering pace and exciting flair. He won the CAF Most Promising African Talent of the Year award in 2012. Salah rose to fame when in September 2013, he scored the equalizer against Chelsea in the 2–1 away win during the UEFA Champions League group stage, During the return tie, Salah scored the winner as Basel beat Chelsea 1-0.
During his 47 appearances for Basel, he scored 9 goals. His good form caught the eye of Liverpool, who reportedly sent scouts to watch him throughout the 2012-13 season. Despite their interest, Liverpool narrowly missed out to Chelsea, who supposedly saw Salah as a replacement for Juan Mata, who was sold to Manchester United for £37 million the day before the signing. Manchester United manager David Moyes could have probably done with a Virgin Games promotion code after that signing.
Salah made his debut for Chelsea in the 3-0 win against Newcastle, coming on with 12 minutes to play. He had a couple of chances but good goalkeeping from Tim Krul prevented him from scoring a debut goal. Although I think he may struggle getting consistent game time with the likes of Eden Hazard, Willian and Oscar to compete with, Salah’s directness and pace could prove an asset for Chelsea, and Mourinho will certainly be very pleased with his new signing.
Full name: Mohamed Salah Ghaly
Date of birth: June 15, 1992 (age 21)
Place of birth: Basion, El Gharbia, Egypt
Height: 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing position: Winger