Liverpool's hopes of signing Mohamed Salah may have suffered a blow after Newcastle reportedly joined the race for the exciting Basel talent.
As reported by Sky Sports, Alan Pardew is said to be weighing up a transfer that could end Brendan Rodgers' chance of landing his target:
Newcastle are considering a move for Basel midfielder Mohamad Salah, one of the stars of the Swiss side's fine UEFA Champions League campaign, Sky Sports sources understand.
Liverpool are also believed to be chasing the attacking midfielder, who Basel value at around £12m.
Chris Wheeler of the Daily Mail Online previously reported that Rodgers had a meeting set up with John W. Henry, the Reds owner, in order to discuss financial business prior to the recent game with Aston Villa.
Although "it is likely that most of his targets will have to wait until the summer," Salah could be the exception to the rule.
This is perhaps less likely if a number of clubs begin to show interest. Liam Prenderville of Mirror Football suggests Zenit St. Petersburg are ready to spend big on the 21-year-old, potentially doubling Liverpool's offer if needed.
It is thought the Reds will not offer £12 million for the player, as noted by Tony Barrett of The Times:
Liverpool are ready to make an attempt to prise Mohamed Salah out of Basle but won't meet the £12m asking price for the winger.— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) January 20, 2014
Newcastle's potential interest may depend on the transfer outgoings at St. James' Park, as Pardew awaits a last-minute flurry of bids for Yohan Cabaye, per Sky Sports. While there is undoubtedly room for Salah if the Frenchman doesn't leave, a creative type in Salah's mould will certainly be needed if Cabaye heads for the exit.
Salah has scored six goals in 24 appearances across the Swiss Super League and the Champions League this season, per WhoScored.com. He netted vital goals in both ties against Chelsea and also scored against Tottenham in last season's Europa League campaign.
Which club is best suited to the development of Mohamed Salah?
He is certainly the type of player who could add real quality to either Liverpool's or Newcastle's ranks. Salah is blessed with lightning pace, has excellent ball control and has the ability to inject a sense of urgency into both the midfield and the attack. He is also versatile and can star in an attacking midfield role or on the wing.
Most impressively, he is established at the highest level of the game. Salah has repeatedly shown he can cut it against the might of European football and on the international stage, as highlighted by his six goals during Egypt's eight qualifying matches for the 2014 World Cup, per FIFA.
Salah looks to be a player whose value is only going to continue rising, so extra effort to sign him now could pay off massively in the future. A price of £12 million seems reasonable, but expect that to inflate if more than one club act on their interest.