22 July 2024

I love this team: Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool's new midfield is 'good  business' | The Independent

Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo have already shown Mohamed Salah the clear reality of a mega-money Saudi Arabia transfer and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp knows it.

WATCH: The first to ever do it! Cristiano Ronaldo makes history with 850th  career goal in man of the match display as Al-Nassr thrash Al-Hazm |  Goal.com English Saudi Arabia

Mohamed Salah is usually the talk of the town for his incredible goalscoring feats but the Liverpool legend is appearing on the gossip columns just as regularly at the moment. That three-year contract, signed in 2022, was never going to quieten speculation about where his future lies forever, but Liverpool might have hoped it would last a little longer than this.

The fact that neither Salah nor his agent, Ramy Abbas, have denied the recent speculation coming from Saudi Arabia suggests there is something to it. Indeed, The Athletic reports that a meeting between Abbas and Saudi representatives has already taken place in Dubai. For Al Ittihad to have lodged at least one bid means there must be some sort of encouragement coming from somewhere.

But the chances of Liverpool allowing Salah to leave now are almost zero. With no chance of being able to sign a replacement, it would take a ridiculous offer for the Egyptian before it became tempting.

Jurgen Klopp thought 'somebody was joking' when he saw Newcastle score -  Liverpool Echo

On Friday, a source told Sky Sports that a world-record $252m (£200m/€233m) bid is a possibility, but even that would not be sufficient. After all, Liverpool might as well keep its best player until a point in the future when it could line up a successor. The interest in him for big money is not going to go away.

The biggest question of all from this unexpected saga is why it took until the final few hours of the Premier League transfer window for an opening bid to be lodged. Had it happened several weeks earlier, Liverpool would not exactly have welcomed it, but it would have been considerably more realistic that a deal could be done.

Regardless, Salah scored 30 goals and laid on another 16 last season in a struggling Liverpool side. In a team that looks far more likely to challenge on all fronts this time around, he could be confident of doing even more.

Mohamed Salah: Liverpool forward remains £150m target for Saudi Pro League  hours before English Transfer Deadline Day | Football News | Sky Sports

As Liverpool.com has previously touched upon, there is simply no reason for Salah to leave now. He still has three or four years of performance levels like he is putting in at the moment. After that, a move to the Middle East could beckon.

He is 31 and will be watching Lionel Messi — a player who elongated his time at the top by becoming a creator rather than a pure goalscorer, as Salah has — excelling in MLS now at the age of 36.

Perhaps by that point in his career, the Saudi Pro League will be a division worthy of his quality. Cristiano Ronaldo and others have made the move but the Portugal forward is past his best. Karim Benzema is similar and Neymar only went there because he was unwanted at PSG and no other Champions League club would be silly enough to pay him what he would demand given his age and injury history.

In fact, Ronaldo and Neymar further underline that point. Not only are the pair at different points in their careers compared to Salah, but when was the last goal either scored that you remember?

“I love all my players who play now in Saudi Arabia and usually I would watch them but I didn’t see anything yet,” Klopp said in his pre-Aston Villa press conference. “Maybe you can but I don’t know exactly where. It doesn’t distract me from my watching habits but we have to make sure these UEFA leagues stay as strong as they are.”

Neymar has not kicked a ball for Al Hilal yet but there has been very limited coverage of his time in Saudi Arabia up to this point in Europe. Ronaldo has five goals in his last two appearances but those fixtures are simply not in the consciousness of those regular viewers of soccer in the Premier League and Europe’s other top-five leagues.

By contrast, Salah is in the most viewed and most competitive league in the world at the moment, in a team that is set up to quietly mount a title challenge. He is the most revered player in one of the most revered sports teams in the world.

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