Saudi transfer plans from the inside - don't be surprised if Mo Salah leaves next week'


Here in Saudi Arabia, I can tell you the Mohamed Salah story is generating even more headlines than back in the UK.

‌And another thing I can tell you with conviction - the link between him and Al-Ittihad has got absolutely nothing to do with some crackpot conspiracy theory that it’s merely a way to destabilise him before Liverpool play Newcastle! I won’t even dignify the spurious links that go into making up that suggestion.

What I will do is tell you the truth as I see it on the ground out here - the link is there because the Pro League is absolutely serious about attracting the BEST players. I’m talking from the inside here. I know what the plan is - and that is to become one of the top five leagues in the world in the next five to 10 years. And the only way to do that is to invest in real talent.

‌Which is why I wouldn't rule out Salah coming over here, if not this summer then at some point. And even in this window, you just don’t know, because it is not really down to clubs any more, it’s down to the player.

‌If he wants to leave, then he will eventually leave. Don’t be totally amazed if that happens in the next week or two, because the Saudi window is open later than back in the Premier League (until September 20).

‌If you look back at this column, I said don’t be surprised if a big offer comes in for Salah, because there are few players in the world with his qualities, and many clubs with real money desperate for them. I must stress that I also said I don’t want him to go - I’m a Liverpool fan at heart, and that is where I want to see him end his career... by breaking every single one of my Anfield records (if I have any left!) and smashing the all-time club records, as he looks like doing.

‌Yet the fact is, the Saudi Pro League is determined (and well placed) to go through with their long-term plan, and what bigger draw than not just a genuine superstar, but a genuine all-round good guy who portrays the very best side of footballers. Egypt borders Saudi Arabia, of course, and the border across the Red Sea is not too far from Jeddah where Al-Ittihad is based. Just from my own observations, I can tell you Mo is the biggest star in this entire region.

‌We speak about emerging leagues making statements. The Premier League did that when they started signing the best talent in the world, and Mo Salah would be the ultimate statement, which is why I’m amazed this interest didn’t surface a long time ago.

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