‘Egypt captain’ Mohamed Salah, 31, did not go to Saudi Arabia after all.
The BBC reported on Aug. 8 (KST), “The Saudi Arabian transfer market has closed. Salah will remain at Liverpool,” and “Liverpool have rejected a £150 million ($249.8 million) bid from Al Ittihad for the player,” according to the BBC. Al Ittihad reportedly upped the ante to £215 million to sway Liverpool, but the deal never materialized.
The English Premier League (EPL) transfer window closed on July 1. In the Saudi league, however, it was a week later, on the seventh. Liverpool fans waited anxiously for the Saudi transfer window to close, and Salah ended up staying at Liverpool.
However, it’s unclear how much longer Salah will play for the Reds, as the transfer window will open again in January, about four months from now. According to the BBC, “Al Ittihad could make an offer for the player again next January.”
“Liverpool fans believe Salah will play at least one more season,” said ‘Liverpool legend’ Jamie Carragher. “That gives Liverpool about a year to think about his replacement. Finding his replacement is a very difficult task. But it makes sense that a great player comes to the team and another great player leaves.”
Earlier, Carragher said he expects Salah, now 31, to continue to perform at the highest level. According to the BBC, he said: “I think Salah will play into his late 30s, like Cristiano Ronaldo. He can play at the highest level for another three to four years.”
He noted that Salah, who has two years left on his Liverpool contract, could potentially move to the U.S. Major League Soccer (MLS) instead of Saudi Arabia. “I think Salah will score a few more goals for Liverpool and then move on to the US or Saudi Arabia,” Carragher said.
Salah is a living legend and an icon for Liverpool, as he became the EPL’s top scorer in his debut season after arriving in 2017. He repeated the feat the following season in 2018-19, making it two consecutive seasons as the league’s top scorer. In the 2018-2019 season, he led Liverpool to the UEFA Champions League (UCL) title. A three-time league goalscorer and one-time assists leader, Salah has scored 187 goals in 308 appearances for Liverpool.
In their pursuit of Salah, Al Ittihad brought in a number of world-class players from Europe this summer. They brought in Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema from Real Madrid, as well as the EPL’s best defensive midfielder N’Golo Kante and Salah’s former Liverpool teammate Fabinho. Al Ittihad’s current head coach is Nuno Espirito Santo, who previously managed Tottenham. 메이저사이트
South Korea national team captain and Tottenham striker Son Heung-min was also linked with a move to the club this summer. Al Ittihad reportedly offered him a four-year contract with an annual salary of €30 million (approximately $86 billion), but he resisted the lure of oil money and stayed in Europe. “In the past, my brother Ki Sung-yong once said, ‘The captain of the Korean national team doesn’t go to China,'” Son said in an interview, adding, “I love soccer. Of course, money is important, but I dream of playing in the Premier League. A lot of players are going to Saudi Arabia. It’s very interesting, but the EPL is still my dream.”
Al Ahly then turned their attention to Son Heung-min and Salah, who were the EPL’s joint top scorers in the 2021-2022 season. Al Ittihad persistently courted Liverpool. However, the Reds declared a ‘non-transfer’. The astronomical transfer fee was certainly an attractive proposition, but Al Ittihad’s belated offer made it impossible to find a replacement.
Last month, Jürgen Klopp said of Salah’s transfer, “There was no offer from Al Ittihad. Salah is a player that Liverpool needs in every way to move forward,” Klopp said last month. “The answer is no. Salah is a player who is 100% committed to Liverpool. He is a Liverpool player now, so I have no comment.”
Meanwhile, the Saudi league has been lining up a string of European stars this summer with its deep pockets. In addition to Neymar, Al Hilal signed Nabil Neves from EPL side Wolverhampton, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic from Serie A Lazio, Kalidou Koulibaly from Chelsea, and Malcom from Zenit. Al Nasr has Ronaldo and Sadio Mane.
Al Ittihad will try again for Salah in the winter transfer window next January. Another reason why Al Ittihad want to sign Salah is that he is Muslim. “The Saudi league wants big-name Muslim stars like Salah and Paul Pogba to play in Saudi Arabia,” the UK’s 90MIN recently reported.