Fiorentina manager Vincenzo Montella is delighted with the swap of Mohamed Salah for Juan Cuadrado after the Chelsea loanee had made a "beyond the expectations" impact on the Seria A giants in his first weeks at the club.
Salah joined Fiorentina on loan from the Blues on deadline day in January 2015 as part of the £23.3m deal which saw Cuadrado moving in the opposite direction to Stamford Bridge.
The 22-year-old Egyptian winger arrived at West London in January 2013 after impressing Jose Mourinho during his time at Basel. However, the Portuguese boss barely handed him any chances to prove his worth during one year at Stamford Bridge with all Eden Hazard, Oscar, Willian, and even Andre Schurrle ahead of him in the pecking order.
So after failing to start any single Premier League during the first part of the season, Salah forced his move away to Fiorentina. He has since proven to be a sensation in the Serie A, scoring six goals in seven appearances for La Viola, the same amount Cuadrado scored for the Italian side during the first part of the campaign.
Having recently netted a crucial goal to eliminate Tottenham Hotspur from the Europa League, the Egyptian made a man-of-the-match performance on 5 March to beat Juventus 2-1 in the Coppa Italia.
And while Mourinho recently said Chelsea will not see the best of Cuadrado until next season, Montella has claimed that Salah give him even more tactical options than the Colombian international.
When asked about that, the manager told Rai: "Yes, to a degree. The whole team is growing, not just Salah, though he is scoring a lot of goals. We knew that he was strong, but honestly his immediate impact has gone beyond expectations. Salah is in a state of grace and we hope he can continue. He has settled in very well."
"The team has been consistent since November to December," said Montella. "We have a squad with many alternatives and the January transfer window gave me some other options to choose from."