Graeme Souness has accused Mohamed Salah of ‘flirting’ with Saudi Arabia amid reports that Al-Ittihad are willing to break the bank to secure his signature.
The Saudi Pro League champions had a massive bid in excess of £100m rejected by Liverpool yesterday, with the Reds viewing the matter as ‘closed’ according to a report from David Ornstein of The Athletic. However, the report also states that Al-Ittihad retain a ‘strong interest’ in Salah despite being thwarted in their efforts to sign the 31-year-old.
The European transfer window may have slammed shut, but Saudi clubs are allowed to sign players until Thursday, 7 September, indicating that Al-Ittihad may yet return with a superior offer to test Liverpool’s resolve.
Souness believes Salah could’ve quashed all the speculation surrounding his future if he had come out with a statement, with the Liverpool legend mentioning his failure to do so as a sign that Salah’s head has been turned by Saudi’s riches.
In his column for the Daily Mail, he wrote: “Make no mistake, Salah is flirting with the Saudis. Neither he nor one of his representatives have come out and categorically said, “We do not want to go to Saudi Arabia at this time”. If he wanted to stay, someone could have issued a statement to that effect. He is toying with the idea, at the very least, and I think, deep down, he will feel he should go.
“The vast majority of Liverpool fans would be understandably aggrieved by that, though this is a sign of what lies ahead for the Premier League. The Saudis have infiltrated every level of British society in the last 50 years, so why not football?
“They are the big guys in the Middle East who play second fiddle to no one — not the Qataris and not Abu Dhabi at Manchester City. They want big players, such as Salah, who will make people take notice of them.”
Neither Salah nor his agent have addressed the media after Al-Ittihad’s official offer. However, earlier this summer, Salah’s agent, Ramy Abbas, confirmed that the Egyptian will not leave Liverpool, expressing that he wouldn’t have signed a new contract last year if he saw his future elsewhere.
If we considered leaving LFC this year, we wouldn’t have renewed the contract last summer. Mohamed remains committed to LFC.
— Ramy Abbas Issa (@RamyCol) August 7, 2023
Liverpool are expected to reject any further bids for Salah in the coming days, with the matter considered closed at least until January. However, Salah’s long-term future is still up in the air, with the Egyptian entering the penultimate year of his current deal.