The 5 players who left Chelsea alongside Mohamed Salah in 2016
Mohamed Salah’s form for Liverpool will regularly bring questions over whether Chelsea should have kept hold of the forward, but sometimes a change of scene is what a player needs to thrive.
There’s nothing to really suggest the Egyptian was on the sort of trajectory at Stamford Bridge that would have seen him turn into one of the world’s best by 2022, and his success on Merseyside came via an important stint in Italy.
However, this got us thinking about some of the others who left at the same time as Salah. Chelsea didn’t exactly suffer immediately, winning the league in 2016-17 after Salah’s exit coincided with the arrivals of N’Golo Kante and Marcos Alonso, among others.
But what happened to the others who moved on that summer?
After failing to break into the Chelsea first-team, Djilobodji was given a Premier League chance at Sunderland by incoming manager David Moyes.
Unfortunately for the Senegal international, no one really came out of that campaign smelling of roses, and he left on loan the following summer before a second relegation – this one not his fault – was followed by his dismissal in 2018 for breach of contract.
After a spell in France with Guingamp, playing just a handful of games as they suffered relegation from Ligue 1, he moved to Gaziantep in Turkey and remains there today.
Croatian striker Perica was firmly part of the loan army while under contract at Chelsea, spending time in the Netherlands and Italy without playing a competitive minute for the Blues.
His loan switch to Udinese was made permanent in 2016, and he left the Serie A club for Watford in 2020 after some more loan spells, scoring once for the Hornets as they won promotion in 2020-21 but only making a string of substitute appearances after Xisco replaced Vladimir Ivic in the dugout.
The 27-year-old was on the move again last summer, joining Belgian side Standard Liege where he’s yet to open his goalscoring account.
Signed on the same day as Eden Hazard, Marin was kept from the first team in part by the presence of the Belgian and ended up leaving Chelsea with just one goal to his name, though he was an unused sub for the victorious 2013 Europa League final.
The Germany international has popped up against English opposition in the years since, starting Red Star Belgrade’s surprise Champions League group stage victory over Liverpool in 2018 and also playing for the Serbian side in their 2019 defeats to Tottenham.
His last club was in Hungary with Ferencvaros but he was released in the summer and remains unattached.
Academy graduate Swift made just one senior appearance for Chelsea, coming on as a sub for Eden Hazard at the end of the 2013-14 season, and left in 2016 after a fruitful loan spell at Brentford.
His permanent exit didn’t see him join the Bees, though. Rather, the goalscoring midfielder joined a Reading side managed at the time by Jaap Stam, and he has stayed at the Madejski Stadium while managers have come and gone.
Last season, Swift reached double figures for the first time in a league season, scoring 11 and assisting 13 in 38 games, helping Reading avoid relegation (just).
And that form earnt him a move to West Brom as the Baggies look to bounce back to the Premier League at the second time of asking.
Pulling off a filthy Rabona assist in injury time when you are 1-0 down! Utter MADNESS from Reading's John Swift 🤯🤯 pic.twitter.com/WsN1YLzQnI
— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) September 26, 2019
Another academy talent, young winger Mitchell left for Chesterfield in 2016 but struggled for minutes following their relegation to League Two at the end of his first season.
He spent some time in non-league, mostly featuring for clubs in and around London, before trying his luck in Belgium with lower-league side KVK Westhoek.
Mitchell left Belgium last summer and after a short spell with Bracknell Town, joined Vikingur in Iceland.
The loan army
A number of other players left Chelsea on loan that summer, with some of them completing permanent exits not long after.
Juan Cuadrado’s loan to Juventus became permanent in the summer of 2017, as did Nathan Ake’s temporary switch to Bournemouth, while Patrick Bamford – loaned to Burnley for the first half of the campaign – joined Middlesbrough midway through the season.
While they haven’t all taken the same sort of route, all three are doing reasonably well today after opting to leave Stamford Bridge not that long after Salah’s own departure.