Liverpool legend Graeme Souness has explained why he’s sure Mohamed Salah will leave Anfield in the next five days, with any transfer likely to set a new world record.
Liverpool have already rejected a colossal £100m bid (potentially rising to £150m through add-ons) for their Egyptian winger.
Al-Ittihad are the club who verbalised their offer to Liverpool chief Mike Gordon on Thursday night. The Reds refused and maintain both publicly and privately that Salah is not for sale.
However, the Athletic’s David Ornstein stressed Al-Ittihad won’t take no for an answer. To that end, their interest has not subsided and Sky Sports suggested their next offer could be worth an eye-watering £200m.
The current most expensive transfer of all time remains the £198m PSG paid to sign Neymar back in 2017. Salah’s proposed move to Al-Ittihad would set a new benchmark.
Among the many reasons Liverpool are dead set against selling is the fact the English summer window is now closed.
Conversely, the Saudi Pro League’s window does not shut its doors until September 7. As such, Al-Ittihad can still sign players like Salah, though if they did, Liverpool would be denied the chance to buy a replacement.
That would represent worst case scenario for Jurgen Klopp and co. However, writing in his column for the Daily Mail, Reds legend Graeme Souness explained why he believes Salah will leave Liverpool over the next five days.
“I really think he’ll go” – Souness on Salah
“I have to say I fear Liverpool will lose Mo Salah to Saudi Arabia,” wrote Souness. “I really think he’ll go for it in the five days between now and the Saudi transfer window closing.
“He’s an Egyptian and a Muslim who would be going to the birthplace of Islam and to a country which has a maritime border with his own.
“Let’s also remember he has moved around a lot, with five clubs in 13 years, and has been at Anfield for six years — not man and boy. I suspect he’s thinking: ‘I’ve won the league. I’ve won the Champions League. I’ve done my bit’.
“There’s the money, too, of course. This is not someone being offered 10 or 20 per cent more than his current vast salary.
“Salah can ask for whatever he wants and the Saudis would give it to him because he’s the one they will want more than any other player.”
Best case scenario? One final season
Souness went on to suggest the absolute best Liverpool fans can hope for is Salah staying for one more year.
Come next summer, Salah would be 32 years of age and would have entered the final year of his contract. A sale at that point in time may make sense for the Reds.
In any case, Souness insists Liverpool will struggle to find a worthy replacement for Salah even if they do have huge amounts of money to spend.
“As a Liverpool supporter, the best we can hope for is one more year of Salah,” continued Souness.
“Losing him now would be a crippling problem for the club, who can’t spend that money any time soon without having their trousers taken down.
“The best of luck with finding a replacement for a player who has scored 20-odd Premier League goals in every season he has been at Anfield. It’s a Harry Kane situation. They’re just not out there.
“Salah might be persuaded to stay — and I hope he is, for the sake of the season that lies ahead for Klopp’s team. But if I was a betting man, I’d say he won’t be a Liverpool player for long.”
On the subject of who could fill any void left by Salah, pundit Paul Merson pointed in the direction of Arsenal…