Finally, Mohamed Salah is a Liverpool player. The rumours have been never ending and confusion about the Egpyptian internationals fee was the obstacle in the way when agreeing the deal. He arrives at Liverpool with the highest transfer fee the club has paid to his name. At £36.9 million, which could rise to £43.9 million depending on add ons, he pips Andy Carroll’s £35 million fee which the Anfield club paid back in 2011. It is fair to say that Salah will be hoping for a more successful time on Merseyside than their former towering striker.
Salah has been on Liverpool’s radar for some time now. Not just this summer but as far back as 2014 when the then Basel star swapped the Swiss club for the capital of England and signed for Chelsea for £11 million. A move that did not suit either party, Salah was never really fancied by the Chelsea staff and management. However, he came in January and started well. He played ten times for Chelsea in the second half of the 2013/14 season scoring twice and chalking up two assists. The problems started at the start of next season. Salah struggled to build on his solid start and found himself on the bench for Premier league games. He was handed just four starts in all competitions from the start of the season to the January transfer window.
A lack of action meant that Salah wanted a loan move away and it was decided he would join Italian side Fiorentina. He made a mark in Italy and grew his reputation there. He scored nine times for Fiorentina and impressed in all competitions. This great period in Italy gave him the chance to return the season after with interest from a couple of clubs. Salah decided to join Roma on loan for the season with an option for Roma to make the move permanent. It was a great year for Salah and a good one for Roma. The Italian club finished third in the league and their new loanee flying winger received the player of the year award at the club. Playing predominantly wide right, Salah filled in all across the attacking third even being utilised as a centre forward for a period. He finished the season with 15 goals and 9 assists in 42 games. What a way to make an impact at a new club.
It really was an easy choice for I Giallorossi to sign their player of the year on a permanent basis. The fee was around £13 million. In pre-season, they faced Liverpool in St. Louis, America. On the hour mark Salah scored to make it 2-1 to Roma and that is how the game finished. Did this confirm something to Liverpool? After all their scouting and interest, Salah scoring and winning a game must have cemented his place on their watch list for the next summer. Again he was used in all attacking positions for Roma, his incredible pace that has always been present striking fear into the defenders in Serie A. The ex -Chelsea player showed a more mature side to his game adding a bit of quality to his blistering speed. He started the season incredibly with eight goals in his first 12 Serie A games. The highlight performance came in the Stadio Olimpico when he scored a hat trick against Bologna. He finished the season after playing 41 times scoring 19 and recording 15 assists. A second place finish for his new club was a success in a year that saw them retire their greatest ever player.
As if losing club legend Francesco Totti was not bad enough Liverpool renewed their long-term, interest in the Roma star, only this time with more intensity. After recording such a great season in Italy for Salah and the Reds climbing back to Champions League football the swoop for the Egyptian was inevitable. In the history of Liverpool football club Salah will be their first Egyptian player. So does the move make sense?
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp implements a unique brand of football. News that Salah will take the number 11 shirt from Roberto Firmino, the Brazilian will now wear number nine, signals significant things stylistically. Firmino will more than likely now play as the central player in a front three. That means that supporting him could be their new Egyptian speedster, Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mané, if none of these players leave the club. It could be a front four that have a beautiful balance of pace and precision. If Liverpool can improve in other areas they may be able to launch a title bid and be competitive in Europe also.
The signing of Mohamed Salah is an intriguing one. Returning to England for his second stint at a Premier League club is brave. His bad experience at Chelsea will be a challenge to get over for the Egyptian star. However, he is a different player now. His time in Italy has reinstated his reputation and by proxy made Roma a fair sum of money. It will be interesting to watch how he adapts to England again after spending so much time in Italy. Salah has both the natural speed and ability to be a huge success. If you take the signing in conjunction with other factors surrounding the club, a great manager in Klopp who brings stability, a good campaign last year and the return to Europe’s elite football tournament – Liverpool fans have a lot to be excited about at the moment.