Saudi Pro League clubs have already lured several players from Liverpool this summer, and according to reports, they mightn’t be done with raiding Anfield just yet.
Bobby Firmino left for Al-Ahli after his Reds contract expired, before the shock double swoop for Jordan Henderson (Al Ettifaq) and Fabinho (Al-Ittihad) over the past fortnight.
According to The Mirror, the ever-growing Saudi Arabian all-star collection has now seen Mo Salah being targeted for a move, albeit not until next year.
An executive from the Pro League has insisted that the raids for the aforementioned players – along with Sadio Mane, Riyad Mahrez, Karim Benzema and more – is ‘just the beginning’, and that there’s ‘already interest’ from other Premier League stars to follow the increasingly trodden path to the Middle East.
A few short months ago, such reports could’ve been dismissed as fanciful transfer hyperbole, but an extraordinary summer recruitment drive has altered the landscape massively.
Even five or six weeks ago, few (if any) Liverpool fans could’ve envisaged Fabinho and Henderson leaving Anfield for Saudi Arabia, especially the latter following his previous public support for the LGBTQI+ community.
However, with Al-Hilal attempting an audacious world-record swoop for Kylian Mbappe recently (The Mirror), it seems no Europe-based player is totally sacred and unattainable for the ludicrously wealthy Pro League.
It was only 13 months ago that Salah penned a contract extension with the Reds until 2025 (BBC Sport), but the seismic summer of Saudi transfer activity makes it no longer implausible that he could join former attacking teammates Firmino and Mane in moving to the Middle East.
It goes without saying that every Liverpool supporter will be praying that doesn’t happen, with the Egyptian’s importance to the team underlined by a haul of 30 goals last season and 186 in his six years for the club so far (Transfermarkt).
The hope is that the 31-year-old will recognise just how much he’s adored on Merseyside and find that too difficult to give up. The reality is that such a utopian narrative can often cut little ice in the avaricious, cut-throat world of club football in 2023.