Mo Salah: Liverpool links to £150m-rated Brazilian replacement dismissed; journalist claims ‘brilliant’ Italy star is an option

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool FC shakes hands with Vinicius Junior of Real Madrid during the line up prior to the UEFA Champions League match at Stade de France

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool FC shakes hands with Vinicius Junior of Real-Madrid

A potential Liverpool move to replace Mo Salah with Vinicius Junior next summer has already been shot down by the player himself, who has moved to distance himself from the rumours.

The Egyptian icon could well find himself at a career crossroads next summer when his long and successful association with Liverpool enters its final year. Salah is the Reds highest earning star on £350,000 a week and was recently the subject of a forceful approach from Al-Ittihad.

The Saudi Pro-League side regard Salah as the biggest name in world football, so it is understandable to see why they would be so desperate to throw as much money as they can at his signing.

Indeed, Al-Ittihad saw a enormous £150m offer rejected by the Reds, who made it clear they had no intentions of selling their prized asset. They were even prepared to go as high as £215m – a new world-record fee – to get a deal for the 31-year-old over the line.

Ultimately, though, Liverpool – led by determined manager Jurgen Klopp – made it clear that no money would force their hand. However, with under two years left on his current arrangement, Salah’s Anfield exit date has been provisionally slotted in as next summer.

Indeed, if Al-Ittihad come back with such an offer next summer, and if Salah’s deal remains as is, it is difficult to envisage a scenario whereby he will stay at Anfield.

To that end, the Saudi-based media have done all they can their end to try and grease the wheels over a move, including this cheeky piece claiming the Liverpool star was already in Jeddah and had already signed on the dotted line.

Vini Jnr dismisses Mo Salah replacement talk

With the clock seemingly ticking down on the 188-goal forward’s time at Anfield, it is little wonder to see the Reds beginning to consider potential replacements. Indeed, three Liverpool Echo journalists debated the five names they would consider to replace Salah, including Kylian Mbappe and two north London based Premier League stars.

However, one new name that has leapt to prominence in the last 24 hours is Real Madrid superstar Vinicius Junior.

The Brazilian star boasts a formidable record against the Reds, scoring five goals across the five meetings – including the winner in the 2022 Champions League final – against the Merseysiders.

Indeed, close to 10% of his total goals for Los Blancos have come against them; little wonder Klopp is seemingly keen to bring the £150m-rated Brazilian to Anfield.

However, as per reports in Spain, Vini Jnr has now moved to quash reports he could move to Liverpool next summer as Salah’s replacement. Claiming the rumours of a move to Anfield are ‘not to his liking’, they state the 23-year-old has made it clear that he sees his long-term future as being at Real Madrid.

He reportedly earns an estimated £342,000 a week at the Bernabeu, meaning Liverpool will likely need to break the bank anyway to convince him to make the move.

The former Flamengo star has 23 caps for his country, while his Real Madrid record reads 60 goals in 228 games.

Liverpool could turn to Federico Chiesa

Another name persistently linked with Liverpool over the years is Federico Chiesa, who is now into his fourth season with Juventus. The 25-year-old has been capped 42 times by Italy and can play off either wing, though is more often seen as left-winger or a second striker.

He has regularly been mentioned as being on Liverpool’s list of long-term targets; and those links could well become a reality were Salah to depart Anfield.

Now journalist Dean Jones reckons a move for Chiesa would be highly likely were the Egyptian to move on.

“He’s a brilliant player, the sort I can imagine Liverpool might have an eye on whenever Mohamed Salah leaves,” he told Givemesport.

With a price tag of some €60m (£51m), a move for Chiesa would not break the bank. However, with 24 goals across 97 appearances for Juve, he is not exactly as prolific as Salah has been for the Reds.

Big shoes to fill, undoubtedly, for whoever were to step in.

Former Reds striker John Aldridge reckons Salah’s departure would leave an enormous hole at Anfield and also reckons the Egyptian can carry on playing into his late thirties or even his forties.

“He’d play until he’s 39 or 40, so he’s still got seven or eight years if he wants to play in that league [Saudi]. Super fit, looks after himself, doesn’t get injured – touch wood – and Liverpool are sitting with what I call the ‘Cullinan Diamond’, which is the biggest diamond in the world,” Aldridge told the Liverpool Echo.

“He’s the best Muslim player probably of all time, right up there with the best in the world at the moment and they want him at any cost. He’s only going to grow in value and next summer might be the time they have to cash in, but they can get even more money. He’s at the pinnacle football at the moment.”

Salah’s current record at Liverpool reads an astonishing 188 goals and 74 assists from 309 appearances – a goal contribution every 1.17 games.

READ MOREEvery Premier League and world star that joined the Saudi Pro League in 2023: Mane, Fabinho, Henderson…