In profile: Mohamed Salah

Sports Mole takes a closer look at Mohamed Salah's rise to prominence over the last two years.

FC Basel have always prided themselves on producing their own talent. Perhaps the most famous of them all is Xherdan Shaqiri, who earned himself a move to German and European champions Bayern Munich last summer.

The likes of Ivan Rakitic, Philipp Degen, Eren Derdiyok, Alexander Frei, Gokhan İnler and Hakan Yakin have also had their talents honed as youngsters at St Jakob-Park.

Now, while the academy still remains of vital importance, Basel, under the manager of Yakin's brother and former player Murat, have started to cast their net further and wider largely to enhance their competitiveness in European competitions.

They are only too aware that they would not be able to compete with the Real Madrids and Manchester Uniteds of this world, which is why their scouting efforts have been channeled elsewhere.

Mohamed Salah in action for Egypt against Brazil on July 07, 2011.© Getty Images

Once a primarily Swiss-dominated squad, there are now two Argentines, two Ivorians, two Albanians, a Chilean, a North Korean and a Bosnian among the playing staff. There are also two Egyptians, namely Mohamed Elneny and Mohamed Salah, the latter of whom has caused a real stir since his arrival from Arab Contractors SC last year.

By the age of 19, Salah - dubbed the 'Egyptian Messi' - had represented his country at every level, including senior. He really rose to prominence during last summer's Olympic Games in London, where he scored three goals in four outings. By then, though, he was already a Basel player, having signed for RotBlau after he had undergone a successful trial period in July.

Signed as a replacement for Bayern-bound Shaqiri, there was plenty of pressure on young shoulders. Salah had an almost instant impact, scoring in just his second Swiss Super League appearance against Lausanne.

The winger, who can also play just behind a lone frontman, continued to impress, but it was during Basel's run to the Europa League semi-finals where he really captured the imagination. He scored in the last-eight tie against Tottenham Hotspur as Basel won on penalties, before also finding the net in the 5-2 aggregate defeat to Chelsea.

Mohamed Salah celebrates his goal for FC Basel against Chelsea on May 02, 2012.© Getty Images

A pre-season transfer was mooted, but nothing materialised. Instead, he would be back to cause Chelsea problems in the Champions League, firstly in September when he scored the equaliser in a shock 2-1 victory for his side at Stamford Bridge. He then followed that up last night by rounding off a lively performance with a late winner against Jose Mourinho's men.

Bob Bradley may have ultimately failed during his two-year tenure in charge of the Egyptian national side, but Salah can be regarded as one of his major successes. At the time of writing, the 21-year-old has scored 17 goals in 24 appearances for the Under-23 and full sides.

There are, without question, weaknesses within his game. Despite his international goalscoring return, he lacks a clinical touch in front of goal in pressure situations, while as a winger he can be found wanting where the defensive side of the game is concerned.

Nevertheless, more performances of a similar ilk to those that he has produced against Chelsea will soon see the European vultures circle. For Basel, the process, just as it has done with Shaqiri and co, would have to start all over again.

Chelsea players congratulate Frank Lampard after a penalty against Swansea on April 28, 2013
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