Salah to Saudi: £480m offer, Liverpool’s clear plan, crisis emerges, Klopp verdict

Mohamed Salah’s future at Liverpool has been the subject of further speculation in recent weeks as the Egypt star prepares to enter the final 18 months of his current contract at Anfield.

Saudi Pro League club Al-Ittihad were eager to add Salah to the growing ranks of superstars that were enticed to the oil-rich state during the summer transfer window – but their interest and reported offers were both swiftly rejected by the Liverpool management.

There is said to be a clear determination to bring a deal to fruition over the coming months as the Saudi club are ready to make Salah one of the highest paid players in world football and put him alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Neymar as the league’s highest profile players.

But what is the state of play as some key decisions over Salah’s future at Anfield continue to dominate the headlines.

A surprise £480m offer
There was major concern surrounding the Anfield faithful earlier this season after it was announced the Saudi summer transfer window would close seven days after trading in the Premier League had come to an end.

That allowed Al-Ittihad to make one last push to persuade Liverpool to sell Salah and there were widespread reports the Pro League club submitted a £150m offer for the forward in the final week of August.

That offer – which would have set a Premier League record – was flatly refused by the Reds hierarchy and there were further reports suggesting the Saudi outfit would be willing to part with £200m to entice a sale out of the Anfield club.

However, Liverpool denied any suggestions the forward could be sold, despite talk Salah was set to receive a ‘mega money contract’ that would have landed him anywhere between £400m and £480m over three years.

Liverpool obvious plan
Liverpool’s determination to hold on to Salah has been well-versed in recent months after a number of key figures insisted the Egyptian would remain at the club.

That stance has been firmly supported by recent reports as transfer expert Fabrizio Romano told Kick Salah would not be allowed to leave Anfield during the January transfer window ‘under any circumstances’ – although a key decision will lie in wait for player and club as the Reds star will enter into the final 12 months his current deal at the end of the season.

A ‘crisis’ emerges
Talk of Al-Ittihad’s attempts to persuade Liverpool to sell Salah are ongoing – but the Saudi club have more pressing matters after a poor start to the season led to the departure of former Wolves and Spurs manager Nuno Espirito Santo earlier this month.

Former Argentina international Marcelo Gallardo was tipped as his successor over the weekend and he takes over a side sat in fifth place in the Pro League table, despite boasting the likes of Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante and former Reds midfielder Fabinho in their ranks.

Fellow PIF-owned clubs Al-Nassr and Al-Ahli are leading the title race and Al-Taawoun, a club without significant backing, also lie ahead of Salah’s admirers.

Al-Itihad return to action on Friday night when they visit Steven Gerrard’s Al-Ettifaq for a game that will see former Reds team-mates Fabinho and Jordan Henderson go head-to-head.

The Klopp verdict
Jurgen Klopp has always remained adamant he would retain the services of the player he brought to Anfield in a £34m deal during the summer of 2017.

After a somewhat low key introduction into life in England during an underwhelming spell with Chelsea earlier in his career, it would be safe to say not many onlookers could have predicted the impact Salah has made during his time with Liverpool.

The Egypt star is rapidly approaching a double century of goals for the club after scoring 12 goals in just 17 appearances so far this season. Salah continues to enjoy the full support of his manager, with Klopp hailing forward as ‘a world class player’.

Speaking earlier in the season, the Reds boss: “He didn’t tell me but he didn’t have to. He speaks with his training and performances and behaviour.

“We had meetings this week, and the meetings were not about what we did in the past, it was about what we will do in the future. Mo was with the players’ (leadership) committee and had his moments where he was talking and it was nothing like ‘by the way, this is only until next week’ or whatever.

“He is completely here and if Dom said that, fine. Mo doesn’t have to come into my office and tell me ‘by the way, boss … (I’m not going)’. For me it wasn’t a subject for one second, to be honest, besides the questions.”

He continued:
“Nobody came to me and told me something could happen or whatever. I’m pretty sure I would have got a call but I didn’t. And Mo didn’t look for a second like he thought about anything else other than about Aston Villa. He has unbelievable numbers but it’s not a surprise that he has the numbers.

“And he had chances on top of that, and involved in creating and setting up and all these kind of things. He’s a world-class player, no doubt about that. And I’m really pleased he is in my team.”

Agent reacts to speculation
Salah’s agent, Ramy Abbas Issa, has also made clear the player has no desire to leave Liverpool. He wrote on Twitter on August 7 following earlier transfer links with a move to Saudi:
“If we considered leaving LFC this year, we wouldn’t have renewed the contract last summer. Mohamed remains committed to LFC.”



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