Michail Antonio has suggested that Mo Salah was ‘ready’ to leave Liverpool during the summer in the wake of transfer interest from Saudi Arabia.
In the final few days before the deadline, the Egyptian was the subject of a big-money bid from Al-Ittihad which would’ve seen him earn a reported £1.5m per week (Sky Sports), but the Reds promptly rejected it amid their unrelenting stance that the attacker isn’t for sale.
However, the West Ham forward believes our number 11 would’ve happily taken the finances on offer had the Anfield hierarchy been more receptive to the Saudi attempts at a transfer, and seems to think that the move could yet happen.
Speaking on the Footballer’s Football Podcast, Antonio said of Salah: “He didn’t turn that down, no way. He was locked up and the Reds had put that red arrow across: ‘You are not going anywhere’. He did not stop that at all.
“To be fair to him, he didn’t kick up a fuss and let them do what they were doing. But I know for a fact that he was ready to go.”
Antonio seems adamant in his belief that Salah would’ve happily left if Liverpool hadn’t so flatly rejected Al-Ittihad’s offer, although it’d be interesting to find out whether the two players had actually spoken about it of whether the West Ham forward is simply second-guessing a fellow professional.
Whatever the 31-year-old might’ve felt about the interest from Saudi Arabia, it’s clear from his performances that he’s still as dedicated to his current club as ever, either scoring or setting up at least goal in every game so far this season (Transfermarkt).
It’s not unthinkable that the Egyptian could make the move to the Middle East in 2024, by which time he’ll have been at Anfield for seven seasons and may feel that the moment is right for a new challenge elsewhere.
We obviously hope Salah doesn’t follow the likes of Sadio Mane, Jordan Henderson and Bobby Firmino to Saudi Arabia next year, given how immense he’s been for Liverpool ever since he arrived six years ago and how crucial a player he continues to be for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Long may he keep banging in the goals on Merseyside!