A large portion of the Dutch media has reacted with astonishment amid claims Liverpool are considering an approach to sign energetic PSV Eindhoven star Johan Bakayoko as a long-term successor to Mohamed Salah.
The Egyptian star is one of the most recognisable faces in the world game and sits joint fifth on Liverpool’s list of all-time leading goalscorers. Boasting a record of 187 Liverpool goals in 307 appearances, Salah is one of the most deadly frontmen in the world game. Given he plays off the wing, there are few players in the world game who can match his output.
However, the much-heralded 31-year-old has been linked with a lucrative move to Saudi Arabia of late. The Merseysiders are extremely well represented in the cash-rich Gulf state with former players Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane joining Reds legends, and now managers, Robbie Fowler and Steven Gerrard, in the Saudi Pro-League.
Armed with an unlimited pot of cash, the Saudis have been able to lure some of the world’s biggest names to their country and amid hope that UEFA will hand their 2023/24 league champions a wildcard place in the 2024/25 Champions League.
Despite claims though that Salah remains committed to Anfield, the rumours over a move to Saudi refuse to go away. And so concerned is Fowler about the prospect of Salah departing, the 48-year-old has offered to put in a good word to veto any possible deal.
Regardless of whether Salah departs or not, the talismanic star will not be able to continue forever. And like any well-run club, Liverpool are drawing up a list of potential successors if and when the time does come to bid farewell.
Dutch media stunned at Liverpool plan to replace Salah with Bakayoko
To that end, one name who has leapt to the attention of Liverpool of late is PSV frontman Bakayoko.
The Belgian star enjoyed something of a breakthrough 2022/23 campaign, notching seven goals in 33 appearances and weighing in with five assists.
That form has earned the 20-year-old four caps for his country and has seen him tipped as one of the bright new wave of talents coming through for the Red Devils.
As a result, Liverpool scouts have reportedly earmarked Bakayoko as a potential successor to Salah at Anfield.
That suggestions, however, has caused a huge ripple in the Netherlands-based media.
And according to Dutch analyst Wim Kieft, speaking to Voetbal Primeur, it is far too early to suggest Bakayoko can develop into a player anywhere near to Salah’s levels.
Questioning the rumours that Klopp could replace Salah with Bakayoko, a staggered Kieft commented: “I was also so surprised by the news that Liverpool were interested in Bakayoko!”
“That’s madness, isn’t it? I really think that’s total madness. I don’t believe all those reports. His agents are just putting such reports into the world.”
Kieft went on to explain that while Bakayoko has lots of potential, he needs to perform consistently over a good number of seasons before he can be considered elite. To that end, he has serious reservations whether Liverpool links to the player are in fact genuine.
Liverpool, of course, will be faced with a near-impossible task to replace Salah when the time comes.
For now, however, Salah remains contracted to Anfield until 2025 with both parties remaining extremely content with one another.
The Egyptian opened his account for the season during Saturday’s 3-1 win over Bournemouth at Anfield.