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Premier League

Chelsea's £15m signing Mohamed Salah is as good as Arjen Robben, claims Branislav Ivanovic

Chelsea beat Liverpool to the winger's signature

Chelsea’s new winger Mohamed Salah could emulate the legendary Arjen Robben, according to the club’s defender Branislav Ivanovic.

Salah arrived at Stamford Bridge over the weekend for a fee of £11m from FC Basel, for whom he excelled against Chelsea – and Ivanovic – more than once. Basel beat Chelsea home and away in the Champions League group stage this season, Salah scoring in both legs. He was also impressive in the two games of the Europa League semi-final in 2013, scoring at Stamford Bridge.

“He was really good against us,” Ivanovic said yesterday of the 21-year-old Egyptian. “He played very well. We know him because we played him four times in the last two years. He is a great player, very quick, and goes forward with the ball. These are the kind of players we need to improve our team. He has time, he is young and it is maybe good for him to step up.”

Salah was so good that Ivanovic compared him to Robben, who enjoyed three good years at Chelsea before becoming one of the world’s best wingers at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. “He reminds me of Robben, the way he plays always going from the right wing but going inside left-footed, I hope he is going to be important for us.”


Ivanovic knows the other January arrival, Nemanja Matic, even better, from his first spell with Chelsea and from the Serbian national team. Ivanovic is delighted to have him back.

“He was my best mate the last time when he was here,” Ivanovic said. “For me, he is like my brother and we do a lot of things together. It is a pleasure to have him here.”

The 25-year-old was impressive on his first start, controlling midfield against Stoke City in the FA Cup on Sunday. “Nemanja played very well today, you can see he has improved massively from the last time he was here,” Ivanovic said. “He was leading the game, he asks for the ball, goes forward, plays defensively.

“He is now a proper player. He has a different confidence, is a different player, with a different attitude, so he must be very important for us.”