The nice thing about being linked with a player in Serie A is you’re certain to never be short on breathless transfer updates as the notoriously unreliable Italian football press churn out story after story, hour after hour. Unexpected twists, turns, and shocking new developments. It’s just how things tend to go.
The bad thing about being linked with a player in Serie A is that you’ll never quite know what to believe from those stories, and most Liverpool fans will remember the confusing, confounding, and ultimately disappointing Piotr Zielinski saga from last summer. In the world of Italian transfer rumours, that was a mild one.
This summer, with Roma winger Mohamed Salah looking like he could become the club’s first big summer signing, the football press in Italy is again getting the stories out one after another. The consensus appears to be that a deal isn’t far off from being done. Which could as easily mean exactly the opposite.
Still, for those keeping tabs on the Salah story, today the Italian press has tabled two potentially major developments. One, that Liverpool made their opening bid for the 24-year-old Egyptian winger, a formal €34M offer that was batted back by Roma. And two, that Roma are holding out for something closer to €50M.
The first story came care of Gianluca Di Marzio and Sky Italia, claiming Liverpool had formalised their interest after a positive response from the player and his agent but that Roma wanted more. Roma, they say, know Liverpool won’t be Salah’s only suitor, and they’re willing to wait if Liverpool don’t up the fee.
The second story was trumpeted by CalcioMercato, who put a more positive spin on the situation, saying both clubs felt the negotiations were going well and that they’re moving towards an agreement, with Roma hoping for a fee that would be nearer €50M than the €34M put forward as Liverpool’s opening bid.
Salah arrived at Roma in 2015 on loan from Chelsea, with the club paying a €5M loan fee with an option to make it permanent for a further €15M, which they did the next summer. The suggestion in the Italian press is that while €50M is Roma’s goal, Liverpool are loathe to more than double what they paid for the player.
That could all add up to an eventual compromise in the €40-43M range, or about £35-38M. Or it might just be the Italian press making things up out of whole cloth and not in any way reflect the current state of negotiations. About the only thing that is certain is Liverpool’s interest is real and the two clubs are talking.