Reports from numerous reliable sources today have confirmed that our dynamic Colombian winger is on the brink of moving to Chelsea to join the first place team in England. Apparently Chelsea's improved offer for Juan Guillermo Cuadrado - while still not fully meeting the Fiorentina release clause of €35 million Euro - is now good enough with the inclusion of former Basel star Mohamed Salah (on loan) for la Viola to accept the offer.
Heavy interest in Cuadrado has been more or less constant since last season, and his value spiked considerably after excellent performances in the World Cup, garnering interest from Barcelona, Manchester United, and Bayern Munich. Fiorentina tied the 26 year old to an improved contract with a release clause earlier this season, but maybe did not expect Chelsea to be quite as insistent on making a deal when they entered the fray this January. The London giants are said to be spurred on by coach Jose Mourinho himself, who inevitably prizes the player for his athletic ability and work rate as well as his creative gifts. Gianluca Di Marzio reports that owner Roman Abramovic and company are hurrying the deal along in the hopes of having the Vespa already available this weekend for the big match against Manchester City, so expect an official announcement as soon as terms can be defined with Salah.
As far as Fiorentina goes, moving things along will be in their interest as well, with a sudden influx of cash to finance the few remaining days of the transfer window and clear needs present in midfield. The arrival of Salah - who is only 22 and has a similar strike rate to Cuadrado, 17 in 47 in Switzerland, and a whopping 18 in 28 for Egypt - would mitigate the need to find another winger, and would likely complete the attack unless a suitable offer for Josip Ilicic arrives. The deal makes a lot of sense for the Fiorentina organization, as our Vespa is at the peak of his market value, and the inclusion of Salah has a high upside. Add into the mix Juan's inconsistent performances (but consistent effort, to be fair), and the time is ripe. While we surely miss one of the most electric players to grace the Artemio Franchi in the past decade, this move is likely for the best. Let me be the first to wish our Vespa all the best in England!