Though the Saudi Pro League failed in its attempt to bring Mo Salah to the Middle East in the summer, they will “close no doors” for a future move.
Salah was subject of at least one bid from Al-Ittihad during the summer transfer window, with it reported that Liverpool turned down an offer worth £150 million.
But their deadline passed with no move to Jeddah for the Egyptian, who remains at Anfield after becoming the club’s fifth-highest goalscorer in history last month.
It is widely expected that a club from Saudi Arabia – whose revamped league is fuelled by the royal family’s Public Investment Fund – will return for Salah in the future.
Saudi Pro League director of football Michael Emenalo says the ‘door is not closed’ when asked about Mohamed Salah’s future ??pic.twitter.com/G35Mipna0o
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) September 8, 2023
And speaking to Sky Sports, Saudi Pro League director of football Michael Emenalo explained the failed move and hopes for an “opportunity” further down the line.
“If it didn’t happen, it’s not because we no longer fancy the player or because we have a problem with Liverpool,” Emenalo said.
“It’s because certain things that need to align for all the parties involved in the process didn’t align.
“Nobody is angry, we move on. But we absolutely close no doors.
“And if the opportunity is there to do things and do it well, and it brings Mohamed Salah to the Saudi Pro League, we’ll all be very grateful.”
Despite Liverpool’s resolve to keep their No. 11 for the 2023/24 season, intimating that they would even reject world-record bids, there is an acceptance that Salah will eventually leave.
The emergence of the Saudi Pro League has increased that likelihood, though only last summer, the 31-year-old expressed a desire to end his career at Anfield.
Reports that Al-Ittihad approached Richarlison as a last-minute alternative showed the scattergun recruitment process in place.
Elsewhere in his interview, Emenalo insisted that “we’ll welcome anybody that wants to come,” which of course “includes Salah.”
At this stage, the Liverpool forward was right to not push for a switch to Saudi Arabia, as with the league in its infancy there is no clear sense of direction beyond throwing money at players in order to boost its profile.
Whether Salah eventually joins Al-Ittihad or another club remains to be seen, but the hope will be that he sees sense beyond this sportswashing project.