Liverpool were braced for a world-record bid for Mohamed Salah on Thursday but the club and their supporters could breathe a sigh of relief when an improved offer from Al Ittihad failed to materialise before the Saudi Pro League transfer window closed.
The Reds had turned down a £150m offer on Deadline Day but with the Saudi window open for another six days there was an expectation Al Ittihad would try again to land the Egypt forward.
Liverpool have always maintained Salah is not for sale but, as Sky Sports News’ Vinny O’Connor reports, their resolve is likely to be tested again in January or next summer, with the Saudi club refusing to give up on their dream deal. And at some point, an offer may prove too good to turn down…
“On Deadline Day, our information was Al Ittihad were potentially going to go higher and come back with a revised offer but that offer hasn’t materialised yet.
“We also hear the Saudi Pro League want to remain respectful of Liverpool and don’t want to irritate them by going in with bid after bid after bid.
“So for now it looks as though the dust is going to be allowed to settle. That doesn’t necessarily mean Al Ittihad’s interest is over but they’ve been told that Mo Salah isn’t for sale in this window, it’s been a consistent message.
“They tested the water last week and they’ve been given that response.
“I think there’s every chance they would look to get a deal for Mo Salah done in January and beyond that. Al Ittihad’s stance is that they will not give up on signing Mo Salah. That’s the bottom line at the end of the day, they have not ruled out going back with an improved offer.
“They believe, from their perspective, there is still a deal to be done.
“Remember, Al Ittihad are willing to pay Salah around £1.5m a week, which would make him the highest-paid player in Saudi football. On the other side of that, a sale for Liverpool becomes more and more attractive as time goes on.
“Looking beyond January, you consider next summer a £100m for a player going into the final year of his contract who is in his early 30s, there’s more than an argument to say that makes business sense.
“For now, Liverpool remain of the view, he’s a key player, that’s why they worked so hard to tie him down to a new contract. They pay him £350,000 per week, making him Liverpool’s highest-paid player in their history. And he remains a top performer in the Premier League.
“But as time goes on the chances of an improved offer coming in from Saudi Arabia will increase.”
Liverpool’s first fixture after the international break is at Wolves on Saturday September 16. Kick-off 12.30pm.