Liverpool receive huge potential boost amid Man City interest in Leroy Sane
Liverpool have been considering potential replacements for Mohamed Salah since the summer.
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After the departure of Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino, Liverpool now have just one member of their fantastic front three left at Anfield. The trio was a devastating force to be reckoned with for any defence and they were widely discussed as the most prolific attack in Europe when they were in top form.
When the time arrives for Mohamed Salah to bid farewell, it will draw the curtain down on a game-changing era for the Reds. Every player must leave at some point and Liverpool fans have been counting their days ever since the summer transfer window.
Saudi Arabia — who were gleefully steamrolling their way through the Premier League and cherry-picking some of the best talent for their own — were willing to stop at nothing in order to make Salah their marquee signing of the summer. Every Liverpool supporter will remember how nerve-wracking the final few weeks of the window were, with the Egyptian's future constantly the focus of all major outlets.
Many were torn as the money on offer was nothing short of sensational for a player his age. Al-Ittihad — who had already paid Liverpool £40 million for Fabinho's signature — were willing to splash nine figures to bring Salah over to the Saudi Pro League and make him the poster boy of the division. A figure in excess of £215 million was even doing the rounds during the eleventh hour, which is an unheard of amount of money for any player, let alone a 31-year-old.
Opinions were divided. 'We should take the money and spend it all on his replacement. We'll never see that kind of cash again,' was the gist of the argument made by some supporters, who knew Liverpool could buy pretty much anyone they wanted with more than £200 million in the bank.
The rest dug in their heels, completely unfazed by the offer on the table. 'No amount of money is enough, we need Mo,' was the essence of the retort. And indeed, Liverpool are already enjoying another season of Salah magic.
The Egyptian has already notched 10 goals and four assists in just 12 Premier League games so far this season. Since he arrived at Anfield, Salah has never failed to hit double figures in England's top flight and he has always surpassed the 20-goal mark for a full season across all competitions. Even last term, when the Reds failed to qualify for Champions League football, the winger still managed to contribute 19 goals and 12 assists in the Premier League.
As it stands, Liverpool could potentially challenge for the title this season, as they are currently second in the table, just one point behind Manchester City. The fans who were desperate for Salah to stay for this season have been proved right so far and they are some of the same voices who admitted they would be willing to let him pursue the Saudi dream next summer.
But who will replace such a reliable player? Liverpool can't afford do things by half, they need to invest in a ready-made, almost like-for-like option who can immediately slot into the team and start scoring goals. Leroy Sané has been heavily linked to a Premier League return, and Liverpool are said to be keen on bringing him in. However, his former side Manchester City have now emerged as competitors for his signature as well.
Bild has reported that Pep Guardiola is interested in a reunion with Sané, who left the Etihad to join Bayern Munich in 2020. A familiar club on a red hot gold rush, with a lot of money to offer? Any club would surely feel inferior when in a race with City over signing a player.
Liverpool may not have to worry, though. In fact, they may not even need to consider Sané at all after a recent update.
Journalist François Plateau has reported that Salah could actually be looking at a new deal with the Reds, despite the intense interest from Saudi Arabia and a lot of talk suggesting he would take the move next summer.
"Both Jurgen Klopp and Mo Salah are leaning towards extending their contracts with LFC," Plateau wrote on Twitter earlier this week.
Now, there's not a great deal to back up this major curveball, but it will be a massive boost for Liverpool if it proves to be true. Salah's current terms are set to expire in 2025, meaning a sale is crucial next summer if the player does not want to stay. Klopp and co simply cannot justify losing him for free, knowing they will need big money for his replacement.
But if this new piece of news has legs and Salah wishes to remain at Liverpool, the panic can settle. The club will also make a very important statement if they can tie their star forward down with a contract extension. Imagine... despite being the number one target of the Saudi Pro League, neither party on Merseyside took the mega money opportunity. Even after failing to finish in the top four, Salah still wanted to push for silverware with Liverpool.
It's becoming a rare sight for high profile players to stick out troublesome periods these days. With the money on offer all around the world, it's easier than ever for players to enter a certain stage in their career, feel satisfied with what they've achieved, and chase a pretty pay day. Jordan Henderson was particularly slammed for doing just that after hanging up his armband and leaving for Al-Ettifaq in the summer.
If Salah does turn down the chance to become the main man of the Pro League — and let's not forget they were offering him more than £1 million per week, with the potential to eclipse Cristiano Ronaldo's wage packet — it will be a pretty special moment for Liverpool.
The Reds can't offer Salah anywhere near that for his salary, so by snubbing insane money and total celebrity status out in Saudi Arabia to stay at Anfield and continue this journey, that says a lot about Liverpool Football Club. Plus, a new frightening front three could be dawning as Darwin Núñez, Diogo Jota and Luis Díaz continue to improve.