Why We Should Take the Mohamed Salah to Real Madrid Rumours Seriously
Jurgen Klopp will publicly state there is no need for concern—but recent history proves that star names will jump ship if the right move comes along. And that's why the recent rumours over Salah will be a cause for concern in the corridors of power at Liverpool.
He has scored 24 goals since joining from Roma for £36.9 million last summer and become one of the Premier League's most impressive players. When one man makes such an impact, it's inevitable that other elite clubs suddenly pay attention.
At the weekend Egypt's football president Hany Abo Rida stated Madrid were plotting their move.
"Real Madrid will make an offer for Salah during the summer," he said. "Salah is now looking to improve his game. Obviously if an Egyptian plays for a club as popular around the world as Real Madrid, it's going to be great for Egyptian football."
Coutinho only left for Barcelona three weeks ago. Surely this is not going to happen to Liverpool again.
Deja Vu for Liverpool
Salah has become the side's talisman this season. He has been loving life in Liverpool and is well settled in the city, yet his national team boss Hector Cuper began the transfer rumours eight weeks ago.
"I've received confirmed news revealing Real Madrid's interest in Salah, but let's not rush things," he said to ON Sports TV (h/t Goal). "To me, he is in an amazing position right now."
Predictably, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane was asked about the link soon after. "He's a great player," the French coach replied. "First at Roma and now at Liverpool. He's an important footballer, and he's growing more and more. He's young and I appreciate him a lot."
Two men in power discussing a high-profile transfer: The story had substance.
In the lead-up to January's transfer window, not too much fuss was made. At the time Liverpool were beginning to face up to the fact magic man Coutinho would be joining Barcelona. Now, just as the dust settles on the Coutinho switch, the loss of Salah seems particularly frightening.
Madrid look like a team in need of a revamp—and if Salah's good form continues, the move could so easily come true.
Make no mistake about it: African Player of the Year Salah is a national treasure. He is Egypt's most famous footballer and probably the most adored since Mido.
Back in November, Mido actually became the first man to publicly mention Salah in the same breath as Madrid.
His tweet read: "I believe that Salah will not stay for long at Liverpool. Soon he will be gone to Real Madrid. Hala Madrid!"
The prospect of such a transfer is mouthwatering to those football lovers in his homeland who have closely watched his rise.
Fady Ashraf, a football writer for leading Egyptian football site FilGoal, told me of the excitement it would bring to see Salah in a Madrid shirt.
"Salah is the hero of the people in Egypt," he said. "He's the most famous and accepted public figure in Egypt across all spectra of people.
"When he joined Liverpool from Roma, all of a sudden everybody here is a Liverpool fan. But now we hear about Madrid.
"... A lot of Egyptians support Barcelona, so it's going to be interesting to watch. But my guess is that many will switch to Madrid if Salah plays there."
There aren't many examples in the world of a player enticing enough to convince fans to swap Barcelona for Real Madrid. Salah has something special.
What Can Liverpool Do?
And so Liverpool now find themselves thinking ahead: How can they prevent another big-name exit?
It is important to first of all make clear that there are not any talks happening right now, and Salah himself is keen to play down any fuss. He's a quiet, private man who aims to get on with his job at Liverpool.
However, trusted sources of B/R have explained how preliminary discussions about a future move have taken place over in Spain, with a transfer move lined up once this season is over.
While the news Madrid are monitoring Salah is not welcome, it does give Liverpool time to fight for their man—and my understanding is that they plan to show Salah even more love in the coming months.
Despite signing for the Reds just last year, sources close to the club have suggested they are already willing to talk about improved terms on his contract.
He is already among the top earners at Anfield, but it is becoming more necessary to reward players quickly for good form, and he would deserve a hike on his £90,000-a-week basic salary.
Fulfilling His Ambition
Salah, 25, will never stop pushing himself—he wants titles in his career.
From teenage days at Arab Contractors as a back-up left-back to one of Europe's most feared attackers, Salah now has the world at his feet.
If Liverpool offer a new deal in the coming months, then no doubt he will be eager to sign. He's loving life at Anfield, after all.
But, according to multiple contacts in Egypt who have tracked his rise to the top, there is also no way he would be able to resist a switch to the Bernabeu.
At the World Cup in Russia next summer, his stock could rise even further. The money Liverpool paid for him will seem peanuts—his potential fee now rocketing towards the £100 million bracket.
Liverpool must now live with a nagging issue that, if the chance to become a Galactico does arrive, Salah will be joining Torres, Suarez and Coutinho in La Liga before long.