Mo Salah is not just a Liverpool icon but also an Egyptian one too, something which may seem like an obvious statement but is now causing some debate over whether a move to Saudi Arabia is really on the cards.
In an article for The Athletic, Simon Hughes has highlighted how the growth of the Saudi Pro League has led to some jealousy from those in Egypt as the game between Al Nassr and Al Hilal is now considered the biggest in the Middle East.
This opinion upsets those within our No.11’s home nation because the match between Al Ahly and Zamalek (the Cairo derby) used to be the most anticipated game in the region.
This is just part of the full article that continues to then look into the political landscape of the relationship between the nation that our Egyptian King was born in and the one that he is being so heavily linked to join.
It’s perhaps best described when Hughes states: ‘Any footballer whose wages are paid by a state becomes a tool of that state. By moving to Saudi, Salah would be entering a world he has tried to avoid for his whole career. Until now, his career had been dictated purely by his form on a football field, his public image carefully curated with selective media appearances and a reliably uncontroversial social media output. Joining the Saudi Pro League would make his future reliant on relations and diplomacy well beyond his control.
‘Ultimately, he could have chosen to stop the talk about his future last week in an instant. A month ago, his agent Ramy Abbas dismissed the notion of moving to Saudi; there has been no such intervention this time’.
Although it’s my no means a forgone conclusion that the 31-year-old will be leaving the club in the coming hours, it does seem that this won’t be the last we hear about a possible move to the SPL.
The former Roma man could have easily ended these rumours with an over zealous celebration against Aston Villa, or a kiss of the badge but he doesn’t seem 100% against the idea of leaving Anfield.
If we have the ability to add on a possible disappointment in the move not just from the club he’s grown to love but from his home nation too, then perhaps we can delay this even further than January and beyond.
Although the money on offer will likely be life-changing, we will all be thinking that an inability to replace our most important attacking player could cost us a lot more than any money we make.
There’s not long left of this window in Saudi Arabia and let’s hope that it ends with Mo Salah still plying his trade for Jurgen Klopp’s side.