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Juan Cuadrado expected back at Chelsea; Conte very happy to finally get to work with him

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Brought in the 2014-15 winter transfer window to cover for the departures of André Schürrle and Mohamed Salah, and to compete with Willian for the right wing spot in our starting eleven, Juan Cuadrado was less than convincing in the half-season he then spent in Chelsea colors. The following summer, he was swiftly sent back to Italy on a season-long loan deal to Juventus, where he rediscovered the form that was amiss during his time in England.

Cuadrado's performances motivated Juve to try to persuade Chelsea to extend his loan for another season, this time adding a "mandatory" buy-option so the move would be made permanent eventually.  But while it had been assumed for quite some time that Cuadrado would eventually end up with Juventus somehow, that assumption looks likely to be proven wrong.  Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has revealed after the match against Rapid Wien that he's waiting for Cuadrado at our training camp in Austria and that he's very happy to finally get to work with the fleet-footed winger/wingback.

"He is a Chelsea player and I am waiting for him. He must come back very soon. He is in our squad. I am very happy to have him. He is a player I wanted in Juventus and now he must come back and he start to train with us. Yes, he is Chelsea's player and he will stay with us. If something changes you will know."

-Antonio Conte; Source: ESPN

Meanwhile, Cuadrado is enjoying the last days of his extended vacation with a healthy dispute of paintball with friends in Colombia.  Cuadrado and Colombia finished third at this summer's Copa América Centenario.

Uma foto publicada por Juan Cuadrado (@cuadrado) em

Although it's his bad performances that come to mind whenever he's brought up, Cuadrado could prove useful to Chelsea and Conte's plans this season. Also, it's unlikely that we will ever get to recover a significant portion of the €30 million fee sent to Fiorentina for his services, so we might as well see how he fares again in pre-season at least before counting him out of any plans moving forward.