Liverpool’s latest transfer stance on Mohamed Salah exit is clear proof of one thing
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Liverpool endured a testing summer transfer window and came out the other end stronger than many would have expected. After the uncertainty presented by the midfield exodus, which included losing captain Jordan Henderson, bad news kept firing in the direction of Anfield.
With five senior midfielders gone and no experienced No.6 on the roster, Liverpool placed all their eggs in the basket of Roméo Lavia, who was pushing to leave the recently relegated Southampton. Talks were ongoing for weeks, if not months, and it seemed a certain match, all that was left was to tie up the loose ends. But somehow, after being in pole position to sign their first choice defensive midfield target, every last one of Liverpool’s eggs smashed.
The nature of their failed move for Lavia reflected the club’s own bullish approach to try and sabotage one of their closest rivals. Chelsea had been adding the final pieces to their Moisés Caicedo jigsaw when the Reds rushed in and flipped the table. With a mammoth £111 million bid on the table, Brighton couldn’t agree with Liverpool fast enough and Caicedo’s summer story had taken a drastic U-turn. For all of a few hours, anyway. The Ecuadorian made it clear that if he wasn’t moving to Stamford Bridge, he wasn’t moving at all.
Sure enough, Chelsea got their man in the end, and to mark their territory, they signed Lavia for good measure as well. Liverpool were left without a solid plan B and spent the final stages of the transfer window scrambling for new options, as well as revisiting old flames they had previously moved away from.
While restructuring their midfield proved to be more of a challenge than expected, nothing quite raised the heart rates of Liverpool fans quite like the Mohamed Salah exit rumours. Of course, every player’s time at a club must come to an end, but Salah is definitely one man fans hoped would stay forever. As shown in Roberto Firmino’s emotional farewell, club icons can move onto their new chapters and still be viewed as legends, but losing Salah will certainly cut that little bit deeper.
Saudi Arabia, who had already plucked Henderson and Fabinho from the Liverpool ranks, were raiding the Premier League in search of the world’s best footballers. Naturally, Salah’s name came up, only it wasn’t a brief passing rumour. Al-Ittihad made it their number one mission to bring the Egyptian to the Saudi Pro League and their efforts became relentless.
After Liverpool rejected their intial £150 million offer — which is an unheard of amount of money for a 31-year-old — reports claimed Al-Ittihad had returned with a record-shattering bid. A figure in excess of £200 million was dangled in front of the Reds but it still wasn’t enough to sway them into a sale.
As the accelerated offers came in the final days of the transfer window, Liverpool couldn’t part with Salah even if they were tempted by the money. They had no time to recruit a replacement and it’s evident now that their priority this season is to finish as high up the Premier League table as possible. Liverpool don’t do things by halves — they scraped a fifth-place finish last season despite a questionable run of form and knew that redemption this term would need to be full throttle.
That’s why the latest update on Salah’s immediate future has hardly come as a surprise. Football Insider has reported that the Reds will not part ways with the winger in January, regardless of the offers that come in for him. Liverpool owners are placing a ‘not for sale’ sign at the feet of Salah — at least for the time being anyway — even in the midst of the ‘huge interest’ from Saudi Arabia.
Given how eager the SPL are to sign Salah, plus the amount of money being thrown around, Liverpool would be beyond foolish not to accept a deal in the summer, especially with his contract running out. Not only would they make a major profit on a player past the age of 30, but his sale would fund the next trailblazer. Because let’s be honest, Klopp isn’t going to sign a rotation player or a rising star to replace Salah, he’s going to want a ripe and ready goal machine who can step straight into the action and get results. That discussion is for the summer though, and right now, January should be far from a worry for the fans.
Liverpool sticking to their guns and squeezing one last stretch out of Salah before allowing him to go his own way won’t just leave the relationship in its purest form, but it shows their determination to give one last push with him in the ranks. No fan realistically expected Liverpool to bounce back from last season and challenge for the title, but right now the race is wide open and the Premier League can often move in mysterious ways.
If this season is Salah’s swan song, why shouldn’t they shoot for the moon? They may be able to replace him in flesh, but there will never be another Salah in Liverpool red. Their determination to whisper ‘one last go’ in his ear, and throw everything they have at this season, shows the true gut and grit of Liverpool Football Club. Then, no matter the result at the end of the season, the Egyptian king is free to make his own decision, and bid his fortress a heartfelt farewell, leaving nothing but the purest of memories behind, with everyone agreeing that he gave everything to Anfield, and they gave him everything in return.