Mohamed Salah will be staying at Liverpool for now, but the Reds “were actually prepared” to sell the Egyptian, according to Miguel Delaney of The Independent.
With the Saudi league’s transfer window closing this week – a full seven days after the European window shut – Salah will remain on Merseyside until at least January, after Liverpool publicly insisted that the 31-year-old was not for sale.
As the summer window neared its end, and Liverpool seemingly completed their outgoing transfers, a £150-million verbal offer from Al-Ittihad arrived on the eve of the transfer deadline, an offer that the Reds swiftly turned down.
“Good business sense”
However, despite this outward declaration that Salah was not for sale, Delaney claims in his Reading the Game column that the club were actually considering cashing in on the 31-year-old because the deal would have made “business sense and arguably football sense”.
While Salah’s durability as an athlete cannot be questioned, his best days are undoubtedly behind him and a cash offer in excess of £200 million would doubtless be very welcome in building a team for the future.
That said, Delaney believes two factors prevented a move this window.
The first is the reaction of the fans: “The issue was how much he means to supporters.” The second was the timing of Al-Ittihad’s approach and “how difficult it would have been to reshape everything this late”.
Salah’s departure would have left the Reds unable to recruit a direct replacement in time. It would also have created an even more difficult market to operate in, in January.
Another approach in January
This is unlikely to be the end of the story, though.
Saudi Pro League Director of Football Michael Emenalo, who described Salah as “one of the best players on the planet” has suggested in an interview with Sky Sports that a fresh approach could be made in either January or next summer.
“We move on but we absolutely close no doors, if the opportunity is there to do things, do it well and it brings Mohamed Salah to the Pro League we’ll all be very grateful.”