Saudi Pro League remains intent on signing Mohamed Salah from Liverpool for Al Ittihad; Jurgen Klopp would have only until 11pm tonight to sign a replacement before transfer window shuts until January; Liverpool are unwilling to sell their talisman
Friday 1 September 2023 23:04, UK
Liverpool have rejected a £150m bid for Mohamed Salah from Al Ittihad but the Saudi Pro League side are not giving up their pursuit.
Al Ittihad have not ruled out going back in with an improved offer despite an initial bid of £100m – rising to £150m – being turned down earlier on Deadline Day.
One source has told Sky Sports News that Al Ittihad are prepared to go to £200m.
Liverpool are still adamant Salah is not for sale, but Sky Sports News understands the Saudi club are getting encouragement in “certain quarters” a deal can still be done.
While Al Ittihad feel they have that encouragement, they will try again.
Asked about the prospect of Salah leaving on Friday, Jurgen Klopp said: “The position remains the same, absolutely. No doubt about that. We cannot [sell Salah]. That’s how it is. Nothing else to say.”
While the Premier League’s transfer window closes at 11pm on Friday night, Saudi Pro League clubs can make signings for almost another week with their transfer window closing on September 7.
Al Ittihad are willing to pay Salah £1.5m per week and are hoping to test his commitment to Liverpool, despite his agent Ramy Abbas ruling out a move earlier this month.
The club and the Saudi Pro League are aware Liverpool will refuse to budge on their stance that the Egypt forward is not for sale.
The position remains the same, absolutely. No doubt about that. We cannot (sell Salah). That’s how it is. Nothing else to say.
The figures being mentioned have clearly not softened that position.
The 31-year-old has been nothing but professional through the noise over this situation thus far.
Merson: Salah will go for £200m before end of Saudi window
Paul Merson on Sky Sports News:
“He’s one of the best players in the world. It’s a hard one. If you sell him for £150m what can you bring in? They’re not going to be better than Salah.
“But at the same time, are they going to win the league this season? I don’t think so. Do you take the money and try to rebuild?
“With another week of their window to go, they might just come in and say £200m and then it’s a worry.
“I would say £200m [would be too much to turn down]. I don’t see how you can turn that down for a 31-year-old. That would be irresistible.
“If Salah goes you’re talking about Liverpool not being in the top-four challenge. But with another week to go, you have to think of the lad and the wages being put around. That’s going to turn his head. He won’t be happy. It’s not a nice position to be in for Jurgen Klopp.
“You’ve got to keep Klopp happy. He’s the manager of the club. He’ll want Salah to stay and if he does go that will be through upstairs [agreeing to the deal] and he’ll get disheartened. If he has £200m where’s he going to spend it with the window shutting?
“I don’t see them winning the Premier League with or without Salah. They might say we take the £200m and make this a four-year plan.
“Will he still be there on September 7? I’m going to go no. Neil Diamond: Money Talks.
“Mo Salah won’t be happy. I did it many years ago. I went to Middlesbrough the money was phenomenal. Looking back now, I wouldn’t do it again. But this is mind-blowing money. Let alone him never having to do anything again, his grandchildren won’t have to do anything again.
“If he does go, Liverpool have to rip up the book and start all over again. I feel for Liverpool, I feel for Klopp.”
Al Ittihad think Salah Saudi move ‘inevitable’
Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:
“Salah has never come out and said he wants to move. The only public statement we’ve had was from his agent, which said that Mo had signed a new contract at Liverpool last summer, and he wouldn’t have done that if he wanted to leave.
“But, can I see him playing in Saudi Arabia? Yes I can, one day. I’m not saying it’s going to be in this window, January or next year, but the Saudis are very serious about signing Mo Salah and have almost unlimited funds.
“He’d be one of the best-paid players in the world, earning at least £1.5m a week, and they’d be prepared to spend more than £100m to sign him, which is a lot of money for someone who’s already 31.
“Put that into perspective, they spent about £80-90m for Neymar, who’s also the same age.
“The Saudis are convinced it is inevitable they will eventually get Mo Salah. Is it going to be today or the next few days? It’s touch and go.
“He’s on a list of players they want but they also respect Liverpool and when the message got back the player is not for sale, they’ll respect that.
“They see him as the icing on the cake. The Saudi Pro League already feel they’ve had an incredible window. Far beyond their wildest dreams to sign the kind of players they’ve signed. Yes it would be fantastic for them to get the most famous Arab player playing in an Arab country but they feel maybe they’re going to have to wait a little longer to get him.”
“The window in Saudi is open until next Thursday so they have time.
“Some Saudi outlets are reporting they’re very confident he’ll become an Al Ittihad player, that he’s going to have a medical in the next 48 hours. We’re also being told they’re going to go in and offer more – £175m, maybe £200m.
“One final point – this is being done centrally. The people making these decisions isn’t just Al Ittihad. The chairman of the Saudi Pro League, the director of football at the Saudi Pro League, the minister of sport in Saudi, the Sovereign Wealth Fund.
“These people are all involved because they have a dream – and that’s to get Mo Salah, the icing on the cake, to the Saudi Pro League.”
‘Why did Al Ittihad leave Salah bid so late?’
Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher:
“Harry Kane went for £100m, is a year or two younger than Mo Salah and only had a year to go on his contract. Salah has two years to go and looks after himself brilliantly well. But for Liverpool to sell right now, they are not going to want what he’s worth – they are going to want way more than that.
“If there was no Saudi Arabian situation, would he be worth £150m? Of course he wouldn’t be; he’s probably worth around the £100m mark. But why have they left it so late? If they wanted him that badly and were prepared to spend that much money, why wouldn’t they make this bid six weeks ago? He’d probably have had a decent chance of going.
“Every player who is involved in negotiations or talk about moving can kill it straight away. They have all got social media channels. His agent came out about three or four weeks ago – when this felt more like a rumour – and he actually said if he wanted to leave, he wouldn’t have signed a contract, basically.
“It’s up to Liverpool and it’s up to Salah as well. He may not want to go. Even for supporters who love them, adore them and don’t want them to move, if that number just keeps going up, there is a stage where you can’t turn it down – and that’s £200m!
“I don’t think it will happen because it’s come so late. If this situation would have arisen four to six weeks ago, it could certainly have happened. But it puts Liverpool in a situation where they couldn’t replace him straight away.”