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Juan Cuadrado: Analysing his Chelsea nightmare

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Twenty-seven million pounds and fifteen appearances later, Chelsea’s Juan Cuadrado is set for an immediate exit after reportedly signing for Juventus.

Cuadrado signed for Chelsea in Febraury for a £27m fee from Fiorentina. The Colombian’s arrival offered promise amongst Chelsea hopefuls at a time when Chelsea were scrapping it out for the Premier League title. It was hoped that Cuadrado’s blistering speed and South American flair would light up the Premier League and give Chelsea some much needed improvements in the attacking third, but instead Chelsea are facing a loss of nearly thirty million pounds. So what went so wrong for Cuadrado in a blue shirt?

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

Cuadrado’s arrival at Stamford Bridge saw him replace Andre Schurrle – a recent FIFA World Cup winner who departed for Wolfsburg after failing to impress Jose Mourinho. The somewhat exchange deal received early criticism from Blues fans, who were baffled Cuadrado’s price tag proved more costly than a player of Schurrle’s calibre, given his impressive summer.

Unfortunately for Cuadrado, his arrival came at a time when Chelsea were scraping out results at all costs in an attempt to stumble over the finish line in the race for the league title. Mourinho’s unwillingness to upset a familiar team meant Cuadrado struggled for game time from the off.

The rare substitute appearances the Colombian did receive saw Cuadrado enter the fray in the final minutes of games where Chelsea were hanging on. Unfortunately for Juan, he was never in a suitable environment where he was able to impress. The way Chelsea were set up post-January meant Cuadrado would spend the majority of the time tracking back and containing rather than strutting his stuff on the ball. It was always going to be hard for Cuadrado to gain confidence and show his quality at Stamford Bridge, he simply arrived at the wrong time.

False Impressions

It is no secret the Premier League is known as the ‘fastest league in the world’. The Serie A, it is fair to say, is one of the slowest.

The Serie A is a league that prides itself on defensive structure and tactical discipline meaning it is always going to highlight a player of Cuadrado’s nature – a speedy player full of tricks and flair. This was also notable during Mohammed Salah’s first few games on loan at Fiorentina, who was part of the Cuadrado deal. Like Cuadrado, Salah’s explosive pace exploited the slow and ageing defenders of the Serie A and was able to make an instant impact.

However, the gulf in quality from the Serie A and the Premier League is so vast that Salah failed to impress in England and it was foolish to think Cuadrado would achieve anything different. The speed of the Premier League should’ve suited Cuadrado, but as there are so many similar, and ultimately better players, Cuadrado struggled to stand out when he did have an opportunity to prove himself.

Cuadrado’s impressive performances in the Serie A were taken out of context and the Colombian would have had a lot to do if he was going to impress in the most competitive league of them all.

jose mourinho Juan Cuadrado Juventus

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