Can Salah live up to Ivanovic's Robben comparison?

Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic was full of praise for new signing Mohamed Salah, and compared the Egyptian to former Blues star Arjen Robben.

Salah completed his £12m switch from Swiss side FC Basel over the weekend, and will now compete with the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar, Willian and Andre Schurrle for a place in Jose Mourinho's side. The 21-year old has earned a reputation for being a flying winger with a great left foot, and these qualities have led to defender Ivanovic comparing the new man to Dutch international Robben, who enjoyed success under Mourinho between 2004 and 2007.

“He is a great player, we know him because we played him in the last two years, four or five times,” said Ivanovic. “With the ball he is very quick, very smart with his movement, the kind of player that we need in the squad. He reminds me of Robben, the way he plays always going from the right wing but going inside left-footed.”

Whilst expecting Salah to have the instant impact of Robben may be ambitious, there are statistics that suggest that Salah could become as important in time. Robben arrived at Stamford Bridge aged just 20, but with high hopes after some promising displays for PSV Eindhoven – much like Salah has for Basel.

Robben enjoyed a stunning first season in West London, contributing nine goals and nine assists in just 29 games, but scored just 10 goals in his following two seasons, with 14 assists. Robben's time at Chelsea was plagued by injuries, and it was no surprise that the Blues decided to cash in on the Dutchman when Real Madrid submitted a £24m bid.

Salah has 20 goals in just a year and a half with Basel, including seven goals in European competition. Whilst his immediate impact may be diminished by the presence of the aforementioned Hazard, Oscar, Willian and Schurrle, Chelsea will be hoping that Salah stays for longer than Robben's three year stint at Stamford Bridge, and becomes just as dangerous as the Bayern Munich man as a result.

With his pace, dribbling ability and eye for goal, there is every chance that Salah could have a similar impact on the team as Robben, given time to adjust to English football.

image: © Lorenzo Blangiardi

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