Keller: Draxler not yet ready for Arsenal

The 20-year-old has been heavily linked with the Gunners, but his current boss feels he would be better off staying put for now

Schalke coach Jens Keller believes Julian Draxler must develop a stronger personality before moving move abroad as he feels the Germany international is not ready for a club like Arsenal just yet.

The 20-year-old has a contract with Schalke until June 2018, but the Gunners are keen to lure the attacking midfielder to the Premier League either this month or at the end of the season.

However, Keller feels Draxler should not rush into a transfer to a foreign league and pointed out that the youngster already earns good money at his current club, so financial gain should not be a factor.

“Julian is only 20 years old and has all the time in the world to go abroad,” Keller was quoted as saying by Bild.

“In order to succeed in another league, you need a strong personality. Plus it’s not like he’s earning peanuts here at Schalke.”

Draxler has developed into a key player at the Gelsenkirchen side since breaking into the first team in 2010-11.

He has made 24 appearances in all competitions for Schalke so far this term, scoring five goals in the process.

Vargas leaves Napoli for Valencia

The Chile international will be looking to get his career back on track at the Primera Division side after he was deemed surplus to requirements in Naples

Napoli have confirmed that Eduardo Vargas has joined Valencia on loan for the remainder of the 2013-14 season.

The attacker had only recently returned to the Stadio San Paolo after a loan spell at Brazilian side Gremio, but head coach Rafael Benitez told the 24-year-old he was not a part of his plans.

Vargas has therefore opted to move the club again on a temporary basis in order to keep his chances of making Chile’s World Cup squad alive.

“Napoli have formalised the transfer of Eduardo vargas to Valencia CF in the form of a loan until the end of the season,” the Serie A side confirmed on their official Twitter account.

Vargas joined Napoli in an estimated €13million deal from Universidad de Chile in January 2012, but he has since been unable to establish himself at the Partenopei.

The forward has made 19 Serie A appearances so far, but has yet to find the net in the Italian top flight.

Man Utd unconcerned by Mata delay with deal expected to go through on Friday

The Spaniard was set to arrive by helicopter on Thursday, but some late bartering by Chelsea for Mohamed Salah, plus poor flying conditions, has delayed the move

By Greg Stobart

Manchester United are not concerned by the delay in signing Juan Mata from Chelsea and expect to wrap up the deal on Friday.

Mata was due to fly into Carrington by helicopter on Thursday, with the club erecting a temporary helipad within the training centre.

But with doctors, a legal team and key United officials, including executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, all in place, the World Cup and European Championship winner did not arrive as expected.

United believe Chelsea’s negotiations for Egypt international Mohamed Salah, effectively Mata’s direct replacement, put a brake on proceedings, while poor flying conditions increasingly became a factor as the day wore on.

The Premier League champions, therefore, are confident that the £37 million (€45m) club record signing will be finalised on Friday.

Despite the delay, Mata is still expected to make his United debut against Cardiff City at Old Trafford next Tuesday.

The match against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will come exactly a week after talks over Mata accelerated. Informal discussions between the two clubs were held at the beginning of this week, with United weighing up a formal bid and Chelsea prepared to sell.

The deal has moved at remarkable speed since then, with Jose Mourinho sanctioning Mata’s sale to facilitate the purchase of Salah from Basel. The Spaniard edged closer to United on Wednesday after missing first-team training, and it emerged later that evening that Salah was lined up by the Blues.

Arsene Wenger complained on Thursday that the timing of the Mata transfer is unfair, given that the 25-year-old playmaker will not have to play against his former club for the Red Devils this season, but will feature against Mourinho’s title rivals in Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool.

'Dynamic Salah can be more valuable than Mata' – Meet Chelsea's new signing

Despite being less experienced than the soon-to-depart Spaniard, the 21-year-old Egyptian, set for a move to Stamford Bridge, will provide a different, much-needed threat

PROFILE
By Ewan Roberts

Chelsea have become increasingly used to the sight of Mohamed Salah, in Basel blue and red, wheeling away in celebration after netting against the west Londoners. The Egypt international has scored three times against the Premier League giants since May of last year, but they will not have to put up with this thorn in their side any longer.

As is want for a side of Chelsea’s wealth and standing, they have moved swiftly to sign Salah, gazumping Liverpool to his signature in a deal that could rise to £16 million. From fearing the 21-year-old’s pace and dynamism, now the Stamford Bridge outfit can look to harness it in the race for the title.

The Egyptian arrives at the club via Swiss Super League champions Basel, where he has impressed more in European competition than domestically. Last season, for example, he recorded more assists in 14 Europa League outings than he did in 29 league matches, and there is a sense in some quarters that he would have benefited from more time in Switzerland to develop and taper some of unpredictable rawness.

THE VIEW FROM EGYPT
By Ahmed Atta | Goal Arabic Chief Editor

This is truly a historical moment for Egyptian football as Mohamed Salah becomes the first Egyptian to play for an elite-level club.

Mido, of course, featured for both Tottenham and Roma in recent years but Salah turning out for Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea takes things to a whole new level.

So from little-known Al Mokawloon to Chelsea via Basel, Salah has really proven his ability in Switzerland and showcased his talents at the very highest level with his performances in the Champions League.

Is he ready for Chelsea and will he fit in? Well he may have to settle for a place on the bench more often than not, especially at the start of his Blues career, where a switch to Liverpool may well have seen him gain more starts. That’s not to say he can’t make an impact, however, with his frightening pace certainly an asset against tiring teams.

Defensively, as well, Salah offers plenty and that could be one of the main reasons Mourinho opted to sign him. He showed time and time again with Basel that he is capable of tracking back and retaining possession, which of course the Chelsea boss demands from his midfield players.

Ironically, just as Salah impressed Chelsea by putting them to the sword, it was a goalscoring display in an Egypt Under-23 friendly at the Stadion Rankhof against Basel that convinced the side to sign him. He was invited to train with the Swiss side and signed shortly afterwards.

It would have been rather different had Zamalek SC president Mamdouh Abbas recognised Salah’s talent. The Egyptian giants, notorious for preventing their players from moving to Europe, had been linked with the devilishly quick winger but eventually decided against a deal.

In a strange quirk of fate, Salah now has the opportunity to establish himself on the grandest of stages in a way that former Egyptian poster-boy Mido, once of Tottenham and Roma, could never quite do. The 30-year-old, who failed to live up to enormous promise, is now the coach of Zamalek – and how he must crave a player of Salah’s finesse and trickery.

The immediate task facing Salah at Stamford Bridge will be replacing Juan Mata – who is expected to join Manchester United imminently. Previously those would have been rather large boots to fill, but perhaps not any more. The Spaniard has been ousted from the first team under Jose Mourinho, relegated to the bench, and has produced just a miserable two assists in 11 Premier League appearances.

Salah should not expect to immediately cement a place in the first team, but there is a sense that he offers certain qualities that Mata, and Chelsea, have lacked. He is quicker than any player the Blues boast in their frontline and, as Petr Cech will attest, has a knack for preying on the last man, darting in behind defences and finishing with aplomb.

The former El Mokawloon winger, who won the Most Promising African Talent of the Year award in 2012, may not be as established or influential as Mata, but he brings a different, much-needed skillset to the club. The bests squads are not comprised of simply the best players, but need to offer variation and options – and in this respect Salah could even be more valuable than the man he will replace.

He’s a natural wideman, unlike so many of Chelsea’s attackers, capable of playing on either flank, and his pace will terrorise tired defences on the counterattack. That speed and directness makes him a perfect weapon off the bench in a side that has occasionally required a spark of invention and je ne sais quoi.

Mata’s looming departure was brought about by a lack of suitability to Mourinho’s high-pressing style of play, but Salah feels a much more natural fit to that defensive tempo and application.

While Salah might have preferred the freedom Brendan Rodgers’ expressive style would have afforded him at Anfield, he certainly won’t be at odds with Chelsea’s philosophy. Coming up against more established sides in Europe, he has been asked by manager Murat Yakin to track back, work hard and absorb pressure.

In fact, only two outfield players (Shakhtar’s Darijo Srna and Porto’s Fernando) have recovered possession more times in the Champions League this season than Salah’s 44. Meanwhile, no Chelsea attacker has recorded more interceptions than Salah’s six, while only Oscar (12) has more tackles than the Egyptian (7) – Mata, as testament to his lack of suitability, has zero.

Salah, then, is an entirely different type of threat to what Chelsea currently have at their disposal, yet he also a good fit for the style of play promoted and demanded by Mourinho. The west Londoners may be losing a two-time Player of the Season, but in Salah they have a explosive, frighteningly quick replacement who could have a big role to play in the title race.

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Manchester United agree to Cardiff loan move for Zaha

The 21-year-old winger will join the Welsh outfit until the end of the season after Old Trafford officials granted his wish of a move away from Manchester

By Greg Stobart

Wilfried Zaha is set to join Cardiff on loan with Manchester United ready to grant the winger his wish to leave Old Trafford.

Zaha stormed out of training last week after he was told that the champions would not sanction a temporary move, but Ashley Young’s return to fitness and the imminent arrival of Juan Mata has seen Old Trafford officials reconsider.

The 21-year-old, who joined the club from Crystal Palace for £17 million in the summer, is desperate for playing time after seeing his career stall in Manchester this season.

Sources at United have indicated that there are concerns over the youngster’s attitude and development since his arrival at the club, with relations having been left strained after the altercation over a loan move being vetoed last week.

However, with Young having recovered from a shoulder injury and Mata expected to complete his £37 million deal with United on Thursday, United officials are satisfied that the squad has enough strength in midfield to allow Zaha a move until the end of the season.

The England U-21 international has not yet undergone a medical ahead of the move to South Wales, but went for a scan on a toe injury at Manchester’s private Bridgewater Hospital on Wednesday.

Newcastle had previously been in pole position to land Zaha but new Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has looked to use his United connections to secure one of the brightest young talents in English football.

Moyes has gone on record to suggest that a loan deal would suit Zaha’s development and benefit United in the long run.

Zaha has made just four senior appearances for the Premier League champions, and his only two league appearances have been as a substitute.