The Unyielding Saga of Mo Salah and Al-Ittihad: Why Liverpool Must Stand Firm
The Transfer Window May Be Closed, But The Drama Isn’t Over
Well, that’s that then! The transfer window is closed for Liverpool and all clubs around Europe. Many fans will now be thinking, “At least we can concentrate solely on the football.” However, it’s not that simple for the Reds, Jurgen Klopp, or Mo Salah, as the Saudi window remains open and Al-Ittihad’s well-publicised pursuit continues.
The Media Hype and Rival Fans
Fans of rival clubs and media broadcasters have been given an extra boost to continue the hype-fest, as the natural lines of “you can’t turn down that type of money for a 31-year-old” will drone on until that window finally closes. Liverpool have to resist, though, for a number of reasons. Whatever is thrown their way, Salah simply can’t be for sale just now.
Mo Salah’s Perspective
It would be zero surprise if the Egyptian king himself was keen on the move. With the PIF-backed club rumoured to be willing to go up to or around £200 million, Salah knows Liverpool would be well compensated. With a chance to return to the Arab world and become the face of a league with untold personal riches, it’s worth remembering that if the 31-year-old does want to move, then he owes Liverpool nothing more. A legend of the club whose performances have been world-class season on season, it would be impossible for Reds fans to be anything but understanding.
Klopp’s Stance and Liverpool’s Dilemma
From a Liverpool perspective, the chips stack up on the other side of the table, and the logic weighs heavily against granting any such request. Having already turned down one verbal offer, Jurgen Klopp has stated in three separate interviews that Salah is not for sale, and journalists have been briefed as such too. The window is closed to find a replacement; the departure of our fifth-highest-ever scorer leaves a creative and goal-scoring void. With Hogan and Klopp having spoken about the impact of not having Champions League football, that’s exactly what they’d be risking. £200 million doesn’t sound that good sat in an account when you potentially miss out on untold riches in the new format of Europe’s most famous competition.
The Tactical Conundrum
The right side of attack isn’t a position Liverpool have been well-stocked in, and neither have they needed to be, due to incredible durability and an injury record. Having moved between 4-3-3 and the box midfield/Trent Hybrid formation, removing your main creative force leaves a lot of unanswered questions. Dominik Szoboszlai has enjoyed an impressive start to Anfield life in midfield, so despite the suggestions, what sense does it make to push him further forward? Diaz, Jota, and Gakpo all work best either central or coming from the left, so why would you change that? Why place pressure on Ben Doak’s young shoulders? Why switch to an unpractised and unknown 4-2-3-1, which has also been mooted? The risks and gambles seem endless.
The Financial Equation
It’s a valid and understandable statement to say there may come a point where the money on offer can’t be ignored. However, looking at the price for the likes of Rice, Caicedo, and others this summer, then Al-Ittihad would still have some way to go if that’s the case. With FSG and Klopp seeming resolute in their stance and the circumstances as they are, it won’t be enough for now, whatever. If they’d come a few weeks or so before, Al-Ittihad may well have been met with an alternative greeting, and the sense is if they return in a year, then it’ll be wholly different. However, everyone connected will be looking for this to simply go away. It won’t be enough… for now.