Chelsea tormentor came so close to joining Newcastle

FC Basel

Newcastle United officials reportedly turned down the opportunity to sign FC Basel winger Mohamed Salah.

The Egyptian international scored a goal and tormented Chelsea full-back Ashley Cole as the Swiss side claimed a famous 2-1 win in their UEFA Champions League group game at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.

Salah is no stranger to these shores, having netted for Basel during their UEFA Europa League tie against Tottenham at White Hart Lane back in April.

The playmaker has been linked with a whole host of European clubs following a string of impressive displays for the Swiss Super League outfit in the last 18 months.

Salah joined Basel from Egyptian club Arab Contractors in April 2012, but it is believed Newcastle had enquired about the winger's availability in January 2012 and August 2011.

Salah himself told Egyptian publication Ahram Online in 2011 that he is expecting to move to the Tyneside club on a season-long loan deal. "Newcastle will make an official offer to sign me for one season. It's a dream for any player to play in Premier League," he said.

Some reports suggest that the deal collapsed after the Magpies refused to pay the €500,000 (4.6 million Egyptian Pounds) loan fee being demanded by Arab Contractors.

Alan Pardew signed seven players in the summer 2011 transfer window, with the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba and Davide Santon moving to St James' Park. The Magpies were also able to bring in wingers Sylvain Marveaux and Gabriel Obertan as attacking options either side of midfield. 

Soon after Salah's move to Newcastle fell through, he was finally given a route to Europe by FC Basel - and he hasn't looked back since. He won the CAF Most Promising African Talent of the Year award, and has managed to establish himself as a regular in Egypt's national team.  In the next 12-18 months, Salah will move to a big European club for a fee likely to be at least 20 times the €500,000 the Toon could have paid to sign him on loan. It's a real shame, and looking like a huge opportunity missed.

What do you think of Mohamed Salah? How much do you think he is worth?

image: © _becaro_

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