Juan Cuadrado to Chelsea: Who is the star Colombian winger set to make a £23.5m transfer to the Blues?

Jose Mourinho is set to confirm a deal for the 26-year-old, one of the stars of Colombia's Brazil World Cup team

Chelsea’s battle to sign Juan Cuadrado looks almost won, with the Blues prepared to pay £23.5m for the winger after the departures of Andre Schurrle and Mohamed Salah.

The player has now said his goodbyes to the Fiorentina faithful – but how did the 26-year-old catch Jose Mourinho’s eye, and is he really worth that much money?

Something of a late bloomer, Cuadrado has only really been a standout performer in Italy’s Serie A for a couple of years.

He first joined Udinese as a right wing back in the summer of 2009, making the move from Colombia’s Independiente Medellin for an undisclosed fee.

Colombia.jpg
Colombia star Juan Cuadrado is a target for Chelsea

Cuadrado struggled in his first three years of Italian football, playing just 24 games for Udinese before he was loaned out to Lecce. A string of reasonable performances were not enough to keep Lecce from relegation to Serie B – but they did convince Fiorentina to take a punt on securing part of his rights from Udinese in July 2012.

That gamble paid off, and in the following season Cuadrado scored as many league goals as he had in the entire of his career to that point (5) as an integral part of a side that finished fourth.

Juan-Cuadrado.jpg

Last season he took his game to another level, scoring 11 and assisting five as Fiorentina again finished fourth and reached the final of the Coppa Italia.

Cuadrado’s simple, direct style, impressive pace and relative defensive strength for a winger make him a highly versatile player, and he combined superbly with Guiseppe Rossi coming from the left and right wings, filling in at full back and occasionally as a centre forward.

Cuadrado.jpg

Juan-Cuadrado.jpg

What really made Cuadrado stand out on the international stage, though, was a star turn at the World Cup in Brazil.

Alongside James Rodriguez, Cuadrado was one of the stand-out figures in a Colombia team that entertained the world on their way to getting knocked out by Brazil in the quarter-finals.

Playing exclusively on the right for Jose Pekerman's team, Cuadrado made four assists in his five games in the tournament, the joint highest with German midfielder Toni Kroos, who played twice more.

The 26-year-old can sometimes be a bit weak in possession, particularly if he holds onto the ball too long, but when he keeps it simple and gets shots and crosses away his game is perfectly adapted to the Premier League.

Comments