Chelsea are close to agreeing a deal with Fiorentina for Juan Cuadrado worth an initial £23.3m with add-ons which would potentially satisfy the £26.8m release clause in the Colombian’s contract, with Mohamed Salah likely to move to the Viola on loan as part of the deal.

Talks have progressed well between Chelsea and the Italian club as the Premier League leaders move efficiently towards securing a direct replacement for Andre Schurrle, who will be sold before Monday’s transfer deadline.

Chelsea had been in no great rush to sell either Schurrle or Salah in mid-season with Cuadrado initially considered a target for next summer. However, once it became clear the fringe players were frustrated and seeking greater first-team involvement elsewhere, they moved swiftly to bring their plans forward. Personal terms are understood to have been agreed with the Colombian, who so impressed at last year’s World Cup finals and has enjoyed a prolonged spell in Italy with Udinese, Lecce (on loan) and Fiorentina, after talks with his agent Alessandro Lucci.

The forward himself made his desire to move to Stamford Bridge clear early in the talks. Fiorentina had resisted, sticking to the valuation stipulated in the player’s buy-out clause, but the agreement close to being confirmed effectively matches that amount. “He has the characteristics suited to English football because he’s fantastic in positive transitions and with Mourinho it could be perfect,” said the Fiorentina coach, Vincenzo Montella. Chelsea will bring Cuadrado over to Cobham to conduct a medical ahead of announcing one of the largest deals of the window.

Courtesy: The Guardian