In recent weeks, on the back of a few highly speculative possibilities floated by the eternally unreliable Don Balon and English punditry’s continual need for new rumours to waggle their eyebrows at, Mohamed Salah to Real Madrid has been given an airing.
At least as a possibility. An option. A potential intrigue. Or, if you’re hearing about it as a Liverpool fan, something to fear. Never mind that Salah would work best at Madrid as a Ronaldo replacement and Ronaldo isn’t going anywhere this summer.
And never mind that Madrid have rather more reliably been linked with a big-money move for Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski and regularly—if less reliably—been linked with a headline-grabbing move for PSG attacker and former Barcelona star Neymar.
Plus there’s still Eden Hazard somewhere in the mix. The point is, while Salah to Madrid might one day be something to talk about—or worry about—for this summer it’s probably not on the table. Not that that fits the desired narrative for the tabloid press.
It also doesn’t fit with the obsessive need of quite a few Liverpool fans to find a reason for the doom and gloom of thunderstorms and rain in even the sunniest of skies. For those at least, though, the club is at least trying to put out some reassurance.
One imagines it won’t make much of a dent for those intent on expecting the worse—or in the tabloids’ desire to waggle their eyebrows—but, for what it’s worth, Liverpool have today embarked on a briefing campaign to say that Salah isn’t for sale.
Today, Paul Joyce in The Times and Chris Bascombe in The Telegraph have both run with stories saying that the club wouldn’t be willing to put a price on Salah and wouldn’t consider selling him this summer no matter what another club might offer.
Both use Neymar’s €222M transfer to Paris Saint-Germain last summer as a measuring stick for what Salah would be worth in the current market—and point to the fact Liverpool already have all of the £145M from selling Philippe Coutinho to reinvest.
Liverpool, with a top four squad capable of making a deep Champions League run, already have money to put into major new signings and no need to sell. And Salah himself is happy at the club and still has four years on the deal he signed last summer.
Or at least that’s the club’s line on it. And as reports of Madrid interest have been highly speculative and from bottom of the barrel outlets—and as even those have talked of Salah in terms of if Madrid can’t get in Player X—it’s probably time to move on.
At least for this month, this season, and this coming summer. Though moving on is probably asking for too much, from the hand-wringers and the rumour mongers both.