Chelsea finally wrapped up a complicated week of negotiations as Jose Mourinho replaced the squad players Andre Schurrle and Mohamed Salah with a man tipped to make a significant impact on the Premier League title race, Juan Cuadrado.
Cuadrado described his move from Fiorentina as a "dream", with Chelsea, the Premier League leaders, paying an initial fee of pounds 23.3?million that will rise to meet the Colombian's buy-out clause of pounds 26.8?million.
Salah moved in the opposite direction on loan, while Chelsea offset the Cuadrado fee by recouping a pounds 24.1?mil-lion fee for Schurrle from Wolfsburg, with an extra pounds 3.7?million to potentially come in add-ons.
Schurrle's departure is the latest in a line of significant profits Chelsea have made on sales over the past 12 months. The German World Cup -winner moved to Stamford Bridge in 2013 for pounds 18?million from Bayer Lever-kusen. In January last year, Chelsea sold Juan Mata to Manchester United for pounds 37?million and Kevin De Bruyne joined Wolfsburg for pounds 18?million. In the summer, Paris St-Germain paid pounds 50?million for David Luiz and Everton signed the Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku for pounds 28?million.
All of those four players had fallen out of favour with Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, and Schurrle has found himself behind Willian and Oscar in the Stamford Bridge pecking order this season.
Chelsea had planned to address their right-sided options in the summer, but accelerated their interest in Cuadrado when it became clear they could get big money for Schurrle in the January transfer window.
Cuadrado was one of the stand-out performers of the World Cup finals last summer and is expected to put immediate pressure on Willian for a first-team place. The 26-year-old is lightning quick and shared the record for the most assists at the World Cup with Germany's Toni Kroos after setting up four goals.
While Mourinho is a big fan of -Willian's work-rate, the Brazilian is often criticised for not assisting or scoring enough goals. Cuadrado has been signed to solve that problem.
After signing a 41/2-year contract to join Chelsea, Cuadrado said: "First of all I am very happy and thankful for this opportunity I've been given. This is a great club and, honestly, it is like a dream to join the Chelsea family and to know that the manager believes in me.
"The best part of this dream is knowing I am going to be part of such a big club. That is a huge motivation to perform well. I am a quick and positive player and I hope to show that out on the field of play and help all of my team-mates.
"It is amazing that I am going to be working with one of the best coaches anywhere in the world. I'm very proud to be playing for him. I think he will help me grow into a better player. We are a big club so we want win important things.
"Playing for this team, winning the league championship is the most important thing, I think. As for everything else, Chelsea have big players so we want to win big things. I hope we can achieve a lot together."
On Cuadrado's departure, Vincenzo Montella, the Fiorentina coach, said: "It was a sale that had to be done. Cuadrado is a player that has always arrived with a smile and given everything to Fiorentina. I'm happy for him because he is going to a big club."
Cuadrado has 37 international caps for Colombia, scoring five goals, and has previously been watched closely by Manchester United.
Other than Chelsea profiting from the sale of Schurrle, the player himself is believed to have made money out of the deal. The German, 24, was earning pounds 80,000 a week at Stamford Bridge, but he is understood to have signed a deal worth pounds 85,000 a week at Wolfsburg.
Salah joined Chelsea for pounds 11?million from FC Basel in January last year, but he has made little impact on the first team. The Egyptian agreed a deal in principle to join Roma on loan almost two weeks ago, but the Italian club backed out of the transfer.
Fiorentina have the option to make Salah's move from Chelsea permanent at the end of his loan deal.
The departures of Schurrle and Salah freed two places among the 17 non-homegrown players permitted in Chelsea's Premier League squad, one of which was immediately filled by Cuadrado.