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13 April 2024

Chelsea transfer latest: Rooney, Costa, top Salah for Mourinho's Christmas Tree

By Football Correspondent with Agencies

In the signing of Egyptian winger Mohamad Salah and the touting of Eden Hazard as being on par with the likes of Lionel Messi, Jose Mourinho has deflected the questions raised by his selling of Juan Mata to Manchester United.

Mourinho’s player development skills may not be at the level of Sir Alex Ferguson – though he can take obvious talent and turn it world class; think Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder at Inter Milan.

So yes, Hazard may yet develop into one of the world’s top five players and Salah, with his pacey wing play, might soon make Mata a distant memory.

The fact remains – Chelsea have a striker problem.

Their strikers do not score enough. Fernando Torres is still a goal-scoring mystery. With the amount of players Chelsea have out on loan, a summer clean out is more than likely.

This is why Diego Costa of Atletico Madrid is now being firmly linked with a move to Stamford Bridge.

If the number of media reports linking Costa with Mourinho are anything to go by – from England and Spain – a summer move may be more than likely.

Especially given that Wayne Rooney is anything but a done deal.

However, consider the new pecking order on display for United against Cardiff in Tuesday night’s Premier League clash, which the Red Devils won 2-0.

Robin Van Persie started with Mata and Rooney only came on as a sub towards the end – match secured.

Throw Adnan Januzaj in the mix and Rooney may well be fighting for a place.

Mourinho would give the Man Utd star a starting place in a heartbeat.

And to consider a ‘Christmas Tree’ formation that has Hazard, Rooney and Oscar being Costa - is one that may be worth dreaming off for the Blues. Throw Salah in there as well and Rooney can move up front with Costa.

Salah – the real deal

New Chelsea signing Salah has been named Swiss Football League player of the year.

The league said the 21-year-old winger, who on Sunday completed his transfer to Chelsea from Switzerland's FC Basel, won a trio of awards.

In addition to being named best player of 2013 by a jury of Swiss league managers, club captains and sports journalists, he was also named in the top flight fantasy squad.

And to cap the awards from the professionals, the Egyptian international was voted fans' favourite of 2013.

Salah joined the Swiss top flight club in 2012 from Egyptian Premier League side El Mokawloon after impressing Basel during their friendly against Egypt's Under-23s.

Quickly earning his berth in the first team thanks to his scoring skills, he caught Chelsea's eye with a consolation goal against them in Basel's 2013 Europa League semi-final defeat.

Salah has played against Chelsea four times over the last year, scoring three times, including in Basel's two Champions’ League group-phase victories against the London club earlier this season.

He has signed a five-and-a-half-year contract with Chelsea, who have not disclosed the fee, but British media reports claim the transfer fee was around £11 million ($18 million, 13.2 million euros), which would make him a record sale by a Swiss club.