Liverpool legend Graeme Souness says Mohamed Salah is “flirting with the Saudis” amidst interest from Al-Ittihad.
The Saudi Pro League side had a colossal bid – believed to be worth a total of £175million – rejected by Liverpool on deadline day.
The transfer window has now officially closed across Europe but Saudi clubs will be able to sign players until Thursday, September 7, which means interest in the Egyptian forward won’t die down just yet.
Liverpool’s reluctance to sell does not totally boil down to how important Salah is, but the fact Jurgen Klopp will not be able to sign a replacement. If only Al-Ittihad decided to make a bid in July, it probably would have been accepted…
The Daily Mail says that Al-Ittihad are prepared to return with an offer worth £200m – which would usurp Neymar’s world-record £198m move to Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona in 2017.
Salah has been linked with several clubs over the last year or two and whenever a rumour begins to circulate it is shut down by the player’s agent, Ramy Abbas.
This has not been the case amidst links to Al-Ittihad, which is perhaps a little bit concerning from a Liverpool point of view.
Former Reds captain and manager Souness believes Salah thinks a move to Saudi Arabia – where he will reportedly earn £1.5m per week – is the right thing for his career.
“Make no mistake, Salah is flirting with the Saudis,” the former Sky Sports pundit told the Daily Mail.
“Neither he nor one of his representatives has come out and categorically said, ‘We do not want to go to Saudi Arabia at this time’. If he wanted to stay, someone could have issued a statement to that effect.
“He is toying with the idea, at the very least, and I think, deep down, he will feel he should go.
“The vast majority of Liverpool fans would be understandably aggrieved by that, though this is a sign of what lies ahead for the Premier League.
“The Saudis have infiltrated every level of British society in the last 50 years, so why not football?
“They are the big guys in the Middle East who play second fiddle to no one. They want big players, such as Salah, who will make people take notice of them.
“To them, the money is neither here nor there because they’ve got so much of it. If Saudi Arabia really wanted Salah, they could find a mechanism to buy Liverpool and transfer him the next day.
“Mark my words, this is a gravy train which has only just left the station and is a long way from its destination.”