Chelsea pursuing Juan Cuadrado

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With a week left in the January transfer window, teams are running out of time to improve their rosters. Chelsea seem keen on adding Fiorentina utilityman Juan Cuadrado to help them maintain their lead in the Premier League table.

Two of the Blues main rivals in England have each already made a signing to add more quality to their side. Manchester City acquired striker Wilfried Bony from Swansea for £28 million and Arsenal just purchased Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista reportedly for a fee between £10-15 million. Last week, Chelsea offered £20.6 million for Cuadrado but it was rejected by his current club due to the price being short of his £26.8 million release clause. His manager Vincenzo Montella talked to the press about his star player’s current situation.

“The issue around Cuadrado is very simple: he has a buy-out clause, which was written into his contract along with the club. If a team comes along and pays it, and the player wants to leave, then he can go. This clause expires during the last few days of the transfer window, but as far as we are concerned the player is not for sale,” said Montella.

If you watched the World Cup last summer, then you should be aware of the 26-year-old’s skills. The Colombian international was the joint-leader in assists (four) during the tournament with German playmaker Toni Kroos. After his performance in Brazil, the winger, midfielder and occasional defender was highly sought after by many of the top clubs in Europe but he stayed in Italy and signed a new deal with the Viola. He made sure though that in his new deal, a release clause would be added into his contract so that he could leave if an elite side wanted to sign him. So far this year, Cuadrado carried the momentum of his outstanding display from the World Cup, who is the most fouled player in Serie A due to his pace and excellent dribbling ability, adding four goals and four assists in 16 Serie A appearances. The Blues manager Jose Mourinho tried to downplay his club’s interest in Cuadrado recently.

“It’s a player from Fiorentina. I shouldn’t make any comments about players from other clubs. You speak about Cuadrado — you can speak about 10, 20 players. If I don’t know them, I am in trouble, because my son knows them! It’s my job to know them all. There are not men [earmarked as signings]. I think he fits well in Fiorentina’s squad and Colombia’s squad, not in Chelsea’s squad,” said the two-time Champions League winner.

For the four-time English champions to bring ‘La Vespa’ into their team, they must get rid of German forward/winger Andre Schurrle and Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah because they would become a surplus at the right wing position. Bundesliga clubs Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg are very interested in bringing Schurrle back to his homeland, while Roma wants to take Salah on loan for the rest of the season. Mourinho maintains that he wants both of them to stay.

“The window is open, but what I can say is I like them, I need them and I trust them. I cannot select the same 18 players every game — I only can play 11. Salah is not playing a lot, Schurrle more than him. They are players that play for us in every competition. Even in the Champions League. I count on them,” said Mourinho.

If you remember correctly, Mourinho said similar things about Juan Mata before he was sold to Manchester United and Fernando Torres before he went on loan to AC Milan. Cuadrado seems to be coming closer to joining Chelsea. He will have to battle Brazillian international Willian for a place in the starting lineup but he has the ability to become a key player for the Blues.

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