Mohamed Salah was a strange buy for Chelsea. With Juan Mata sold to Manchester United -- and no, that hasn't gotten any weirder since the first time I typed it -- the Blues needed a winger, and they chose a young man from Basel who'd helped sink them when they met in the Champions League group stages.
Enter Mohamed Salah, who did virtually nothing of note except score against Stoke and Arsenal. It was a far cry from the contributions of the Blues' other winter addition: Nemanja Matic's arrival sparked a Chelsea charge which kept us in the title race until the season's dying weeks, and has been an integral part of the team since. Salah hasn't even been an integral part of the bench.
And so a loan deal makes perfect sense, especially considering that his destination in Italy has just had its star attacking midfielder poached by Chelsea. How does Salah feel about it? Predictably happy:
I am truly happy to be here. I really hope this is a step forward in my career. I know that my move to Fiorentina has generated a lot of interest in Egypt and I hope I can do well and help the team succeed.
Well, ok, that's fluff, and media-trained fluff at that. But it's also more or less what you'd expect from a player who's been completely unable to make a difference at Chelsea -- this is his shot to prove himself in a new environment, and while Serie A isn't the Premier League, Fiorentina still represents a big step up from the Swiss Super League.
Chelsea was never Salah's big chance, and I suspect he knows that. This loan, on the other hand? That's where he'll really have to step it up.