As Chelsea sit one win away from the Premier League title, some of Jose Mourinho’s moves in the transfer market must be heralded as key reasons for the club’s rise this season.
The summer addition of Cesc Fabregas has added much-needed creativity in the centre of the park, while Diego Costa’s presence has made up for the lack of prolificacy in front of goal that blighted the team last season.
The timely return of Thibaut Courtois from Atletico Madrid on loan and the shrewd acquisition of the versatile Kurt Zouma have also played their part in the Blues being the most consistent team in the English top flight this season.
However, the January purchase of Juan Cuadrado has yet to work out for the West London club, with the electrifying Colombian playing a fringe role in Chelsea’s successful campaign.
The dynamic right-sided midfielder has oodles of ability, scintillating pace and an eye for goal, which were all on show during the World Cup in Brazil last summer.
Over a number of years at Fiorentina he became one of the best and most exciting players in Serie A; his January addition evoked eager anticipation amongst the Stamford Bridge faithful.
However, Cuadrado has only been afforded a handful of chances to show what he is capable of since moving to England, mostly in short-lived cameos from the bench.
Mourinho has preferred the tried-and-tested options of Willian and Ramires on the right flank, with the South American star surely wondering if he has made the right choice in leaving Florence.
Ironically, Mohamed Salah was sent to the Artemio Franchi on loan as part of the deal that saw Chelsea capture Cuadrado, with the Egypt international being given the chance to play in Italy and becoming an instant hero for the Viola fans.
Ahead of next season, Mourinho will look to freshen up his options to see Chelsea compete on all fronts, which will surely give Cuadrado more of an opportunity to play.
Someone of his ability cannot be written off and there is every chance that the sublimely gifted Colombian could be as good as a new signing for the Blues next season.
However, with the big-money acquisitions of the likes of Fernando Torres, Juan Sebastian Veron, Andriy Shevchenko and plenty of others still black spots on the Chelsea collective memory, Cuadrado’s name could also be added to this list if he is not afforded the chance to show why the Blues spent so much on him in the first place.
Cuadrado will need time to adjust to the different style of football in England and the fact that he is not playing regularly will only stunt his transition.
Add to this the fact that his confidence and any momentum he had when signing from Fiorentina has been eliminated and there is something of a recipe for disaster about the deal.
Chelsea will hope to avoid a Kevin De Bruyne situation, where Cuadrado fails at the London club only to go and thrive elsewhere.