Chelsea: Todd Boehly must heed Mo Salah transfer warning as £200m summer rebuild begins

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·3-min read
Chelsea: Todd Boehly must heed Mo Salah transfer warning as £200m summer rebuild begins
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Mo Salah will still be terrorising Premier League defences for another year at least. The Egyptian will remain in the red of Liverpool next season after confirming he will see out the final 12 months of his contract at Anfield.

There will be no shortage of takers if he walks away as a free agent after establishing himself as one of the all-time great goalscorers since returning to the English top-flight.

Who could have foreseen the potential for Salah to become one of the finest players of his generation? The answer was Liverpool’s team of transfer analysts.

Chelsea, meanwhile, let him slip through their fingers to become a rather embarrassing footnote to be filed alongside Kevin De Bruyne as ones that got away. Mistakes can happen in football. Talent management and development is not an exact science.

These are human beings and sometimes the fit is not right for a multitude of reasons. Yet the failure to hone the qualities of arguably the two best players in English football – two of the absolute elite on the global stage – feels like more than just a simple misstep.

And at a time of regime change at Stamford Bridge, they should serve as a cautionary tale to Todd Boehly. For all of the success secured by Roman Abramovich in his 19 years at the club, he has also overseen a talent drain. Romelu Lukaku was another star-to-be jettisoned – in his case, later re-purchased for a club record £97.5million.

It carries on. Last night, Tammy Abraham lifted the Europa Conference League with Roma. On Sunday, Fikayo Tomori was crowned a Serie A champion with AC Milan. What Thomas Tuchel would give for Salah right now.

The 29-year-old is regularly the benchmark Chelsea’s manager refers to when describing the game’s elite players. He accepts he does not have an equivalent of Salah in his attack that continues to underwhelm and is likely to be overhauled in the summer.

Salah, meanwhile, will be leading Liverpool’s charge for a second Champions League crown in four seasons – a hat-trick of trophies this term. He won his third Premier League Golden Boot in five years at Liverpool last weekend, shared with Tottenham’s Heung-min Son. It feels impossible to imagine those talents were not picked up at Cobham.

Mo Salah flattered to deceive under Jose Mourinho at Chelsea before rebuilding his career in Serie A (Getty Images)
Mo Salah flattered to deceive under Jose Mourinho at Chelsea before rebuilding his career in Serie A (Getty Images)

Of course, they were. That is why Chelsea paid the not-insignificant fee of £11m when signing him from Basel in 2014. That figure pointed to the qualities spotted by the club’s scouting department. But convincing Jose Mourinho to play him – or De Bruyne – in the first team was another matter entirely.

Salah started just six times in the league. It reached the point with both him and De Bruyne that some team-mates were embarrassed about their treatment.

Players at the time had the sense that the pair were finished before they even had the chance to establish themselves under Mourinho. The regret is solely on the side of Chelsea, with neither player looking back as their careers have soared.

Salah’s rise from Chelsea reject to Liverpool talisman is a remarkable story. And one that Boehly would do well to acquaint himself with

When Salah steps out at the Stade de France against Real Madrid on Saturday, there is no chance that he will be wondering what might have been.

His rise from Chelsea reject to Liverpool talisman is a remarkable story. And one that Boehly would do well to acquaint himself with – if only to ensure it is never repeated under his watch.

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