The Liverpool transfer deadline day reality as Mohamed Salah situation cooks up major dilemma

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Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ittihad are determined to sign Mohamed Salah before the transfer window closes.

Liverpool will be watching the clock and urging the hours to pass as they see out Deadline Day with hopefully minor scrapes as opposed to gaping wounds.

It’s been far from an easy journey for the Reds this transfer window as they’ve dealt with a real roller coaster of fortune. In his mission to restructure his midfield into a title-challenging one, Jurgen Klopp has gone from the highs of celebrating two strong new signings, to panic-buying replacements for shock departures.

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After bringing in Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai, things were looking extremely positive for Liverpool. They’d made a huge statement by forking out just shy of £100 million on an area they’d promised to strengthen, and further talks were also in the pipeline as well. After a tough 2022/23 season, things seemed to be healing over at Anfield. At least, until the skipper and first choice defensive midfielder packed their bags for Saudi Arabia, anyway.

The double departure of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho completely reset Liverpool’s work on the transfer market up until that point. They’d gained two new midfielders, but lost two of their most experienced and confident players in that area. Fortunately, Liverpool have since managed to bring in Wataru Endō and are close to finalising a move for Ryan Gravenberch, but the focus here isn’t on who they’ve signed, it’s who they’ve lost and could still potentially lose.

‘Saudi Arabia are interested in...’ These are the five words that have become a real enemy of Reds fans this window. After getting their first taste of Liverpool blood by bringing Roberto Firmino to Al-Ahli, the Saudi Pro League have been relentlessly knocking on Klopp’s door.

Henderson and Fabinho were next out the door and since then, Thiago, Luis Díaz and now Mohamed Salah have been attracting interest. That’s quite the understatement for Salah, actually. Al-Ittihad — who have already brought in the likes of Fabinho, N’Golo Kanté and Karim Benzema — are laser-focused on the Egyptian winger and determined to make him the jewel in the crown of a stunning summer spending spree.

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The latest Deadline Day update on the Salah pursuit is that Liverpool have swiftly rejected a £150 million bid from Al-Ittihad. It has been made abundantly clear that he is not for sale and no amount of money will change that, but the Saudi club are not taking no for answer.

It’s to be expected that an even bigger bid will be tabled as representatives try to grind down Klopp and co to make this deal happen. So let’s cut right to it — who wouldn’t want Salah at their club? No matter your allegiance, it’s impossible to deny how much of an influence the winger has been for Liverpool. In 308 appearances, Salah has contributed 187 goals and 81 assists in a red shirt and despite age-old predictions of him being a ‘one season wonder’, he has continued to prove that narrative wrong.

Since joining Liverpool in 2017, Salah has never finished a season with less than 20 goals to his name. His importance to Klopp’s team is unmatched and it’s absolutely no wonder why the Reds are digging in their heels and refusing to part ways with him. But of course, the anxiety is still very much present, and if this window is anything to go off, fans are probably half-expecting to see the dreaded news break that a deal has been agreed.

The most worrying part is that the Saudi Pro League transfer window will remain open for another six days once tonight’s 11pm deadline arrives. This means Al-Ittihad have until next Thursday to potentially come back with another offer and that also means Liverpool will be unable to bring in a replacement until January at the very earliest. So in short, there’s a lot of anxiety still to come.

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There could be a slight glimmer of hope though following the rejected £150 million bid. During Sky Sports’ Deadline Day coverage, discussions over Salah’s potential exit included whether Al-Ittihad will come back with an even higher bid either today or before the SPL window closes. The club is reportedly weighing up the best approach and whether they should go all in now, or respect Liverpool’s current stance and revisit a move in the near future.

Mohamed Salah has become a Liverpool icon at Anfield Mohamed Salah has become a Liverpool icon at Anfield
Mohamed Salah has become a Liverpool icon at Anfield | Getty Images

Based on how eager they are to sign Salah, it seems inevitable that the Egyptian king’s next destination will be the Pro League, whether that’s within the next week or next summer. But there’s a lot to factor in when it comes to both scenarios.

If Al-Ittihad return with a bid in the region of £175-200 million, it’s going to be incredibly hard for Liverpool to turn that down. A mammoth nine-figure fee for a 31-year-old is unheard of and Klopp’s team could really put that money to use for future signings, but they will have to get through the rest of this season without their star forward.

Should Liverpool stick to their guns and refuse any sale this window, then it’s likely any future offers will plummet. Salah is contracted at Anfield until 2025, so once next summer’s window open, he will have entered his final 12 months and Al-Ittihad will know they can offer a fraction of their bid this time.

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It’s also worth realistically weighing up how likely it is that Liverpool will win silverware this season, particularly the Premier League title, and whether keeping Salah will boost them towards that goal.

So the burning question really boils down to what Klopp sees as most important. A war chest that will give him the means to sign essentially any player in the world in the next window, but he loses one of his most important assets? Or more than likely one last season with Salah, followed by an extremely diluted cash offer? Either way, Liverpool are going to be at a loss, but it’s deciding which loss is the greater one.

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