With the transfer window open for the Saudi Pro League until Thursday evening, there was always an expectation that the league would continue to push for the signing of Liverpool star Mohamed Salah even after the window closed in England.
Having seen a bid of £150M including add-ons rejected last week, reports today suggest that push is now happening and a bid in excess of £200M—by some reports as high as £215M—is set to arrive. For Liverpool, though, the situation remains unchanged.
Salah remains not for sale, regardless offer, as losing the club’s most important attacker at this stage would potentially be disastrous to Liverpool’s aspirations, including Champions League qualification worth in the neighbourhood of £100M per season.
Beyond Liverpool’s goals for the season, there is no reason to think interest in Salah from the Saudi sportswashing project—one that sees the league along with the nation’s Public Investment Fund negotiate transfers on behalf of the clubs—has a shelf life.
At 31, Salah remains one of the game’s top five attackers and is the most prominent and globally popular Muslim athlete in the history of the sport. Compared to the likes of Jordan Henderson, Salah’s value will remain high for the foreseeable future.
Comparing him to the top attackers now in the Pro League, Karim Benzema moved at 35 years of age. Cristiano Ronaldo completed his transfer shortly before his 38th birthday. For the Pro League, Salah’s profile dwarfs Benzema’s and is on par with Ronaldo’s.
As long as the league is propped up by the government to ensure its viability, a payday will be there for Salah and Liverpool if the club and player decide that’s what they want—even if that’s two, three, or four years own the road. There is no ticking clock.
For Liverpool, the situation is as clear as it gets. Salah simply cannot be for sale this month, and beyond that, for as long as Salah remains interested in top flight football and doesn’t actively seek a move away from the club, he should be retained.
Should the day arrive when Salah desires the move—and as long as it comes at a time and in a manner that allows Liverpool to plan for the future—then, and only then, should it be considered. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain from that approach.