Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella has confirmed that winger Juan Cuadrado is to join Premier League side Chelsea, with Mohamed Salah moving the other way on loan.
Speculation has gathered pace throughout the transfer window that Colombia international Cuadrado would move to the Premier League leaders.
Montella was disappointed that Cuadrado – who will become a Chelsea player officially after the completion of a medical – is leaving, but stated the fee received was too good to turn down.
“Honestly, it was something that had to be done,” Montella said.
“As a coach I’m disappointed, but on a pragmatic level the fee is so high that it’s worth it.
“It’s nobody’s fault, we must absolutely not be distracted, and offer excuses, we must be supremely focused.
“He [Cuadrado] always demonstrated the utmost professionalism, and joy in playing. I’m happy for him, because he’s gone to play in a very good team.
“At the moment I’m a bit sad, there are more resources in other leagues, that’s a fact. Our appeal is diminished.
“We’re getting a player in Salah who will have to adapt to our football, this is a league that’s different from the Swiss and the English.”
Cuadrado move to Stadio Artemi Franchi in July 2012 and has been a mainstay of Fiorentina’s first team in the past two-and-a-half seasons.
The 26-year-old caught the eye of suitors with his performances at last year’s World Cup, where he helped Colombia to the quarter-finals before they were eliminated by hosts Brazil.
La Liga giants Barcelona were linked with his services, but a switch to Camp Nou failed to materialise and he now joins a Chelsea side gunning for the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and League Cup titles.