Although the Reds did well enough in his absence, winning six, drawing one and losing one of their eight games while he was away with the Egyptian national team and a subsequent injury, it is difficult to argue that Mohamed Salah hasn’t been Liverpool’s best player this season, and that his return won’t make them a better side as they do their best to continue competing on four fronts.
It follows, then, that the topic of the 31-year old’s immediate footballing future and — should it lie away from Anfield — his potential successor is also persistently close to the surface. The Saudi rumours aren’t going away anytime soon, despite being based entirely on conjecture and assumptions about the player’s ambitions as he continues performing at an elite level while continuing to age into his 30s, and as such, promising young attackers will continue to be linked with the club.
The most recent name is Pedro Neto, with reports this weekend claiming Wolves would be willing to let their top creator go for a bid in the region of £60m, as they look to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations amid point reductions around the league.
Neto fits the profile of a dangerous, dynamic wide attacker with end product, and typically gives his fullback fits whenever he takes the pitch for the Wolves, owing to his direct, persistent approach to take-ons and dribbles. Getting on the pitch has been a problem, however, as surgery on his ankle and knee in consecutive seasons has seen the 23-year old miss 18 months of football in the past three years, a stat that would suggest replacing the ever-present Mohamed Salah could prove a difficult task.
The combination of price tag and injury record makes this one appear unlikely at this time, and considering that Liverpool have yet to decide who will run their football operation and manage their football team when Jürgen Klopp leaves at the end of the season, any suggested incoming transfers should be taken with a larger than usual grain of salt.