Premier League • England

Liverpool to pick between Bayern star and ‘next Messi’ as Salah replacement, with Saudi ‘pressure’ increasing

Leroy Sane and Mohamed Salah beside the Liverpool badge

Leroy Sane is one potential Salah replacement for Liverpool

Liverpool are bracing themselves for further Saudi Pro League interest in Mohamed Salah this summer and have shortlisted two potential replacements, a reporter has claimed.

Salah is approaching the final year of his contract with Liverpool, which makes the upcoming transfer window even more nervy than last year, when world-record bids were launched from the Middle East in an attempt to lure him away from the Premier League.

If Salah does leave Liverpool this time around – which isn’t a given yet – then it will be hard for them to find a replacement of similar quality. However, given the willingness of the Saudi suitors to spend, they should have enough funds to find a high-calibre successor.

According to SportItalia journalist Rudy Galetti, Liverpool have two main ideas in mind in their search for Salah’s successor as the ‘pressure’ from Saudi Arabia increases.

One is Leroy Sane, the former Manchester City winger who is approaching the last year of his own contract with Bayern Munich.

The other is Estevao Willian, a Palmeiras youngster regarded by some as the next Lionel Messi.

Due to transfer rules for youth players, Sane would be the easier player for Liverpool to acquire immediately this summer. With Estevao, they would have to wait until next summer.

Furthermore, they would face competition for the Brazilian from clubs like Chelsea and Barcelona.

IN FOCUS – Who is Estevao Willian? The Brazilian gem that has Chelsea and Man City chasing his signature

Can Liverpool convince Sane to sign?

Even signing Sane might not be simple, since there were reports in February that he would be willing to extend his contract with Bayern. That was before the Bundesliga giants announced their decision to change head coach in the summer, though.

It remains to be seen how Thomas Tuchel’s departure and the appointment of a replacement might have an impact on Sane’s future – and whether or not the uncertainty about the equivalent position at Liverpool could be a factor too.

This season, Sane has scored nine goals and added 12 assists from 37 appearances for Bayern. He has operated mainly on the right wing like Salah, but has also played on the left a lot.

As a fellow left-footer, though, the 28-year-old could become a like-for-like replacement for Salah in theory.

Estevao shares similar traits in terms of his dexterity, but does only have six senior appearances to his name, so would be more of a long-term project. Liverpool would have to rely on alternative cover until they were able to bring him to England, though it could be a smart investment if ‘Messinho’ fulfils his potential.

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