Al-Ittihad are ready to offer Liverpool £118MILLION for Mo Salah as Saudi state-backed club test Reds' resolve – Daily Mail

By Lewis Steele For Mailonline


Saudi Arabian club Al-Ittihad are ready to test Liverpool’s resolve on Mo Salah and are preparing an eye-watering bid of around £118million for their star player, despite the club insisting he is not going anywhere.
Liverpool hold a firm stance that their star player is strictly not for sale and Mail Sport understands Jurgen Klopp would be furious at the club if Salah were to leave this summer. The Reds are aware any Salah exit could derail their season and Klopp’s entire project at Anfield.
But Saudi chiefs have travelled to Europe and Mail Sport understands they have received encouragement that the player would be keen to listen to offers. Clubs in the Gulf state view Salah as their crown jewel ahead of the Club World Cup on home soil in December.
Saudi Pro League chief executive Saad al-Lazeez travelled to France on Tuesday and will base himself in Cannes for the remainder of the European transfer window to make late attempts to tempt more stars to their growing league.
And after an eye-watering summer spending spree, Salah is the player that Saudi clubs view as the biggest venture yet. They see Liverpool players as huge marketing vehicles due to their ‘brand’, and Salah is the most well-known Arab athlete in the world.
Saudi Arabian club Al-Ittihad are readying a £118m bid for Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah
Saudi chiefs have received encouragement that Salah will listen to offers to leave Liverpool
Salah’s agent Ramy Abbas took steps to reassure Liverpool fans earlier in the month by publicly stating he would not be leaving this summer, but that hasn’t deterred Saudi money men who believe they have had encouragement to make a formal bid of around $150m.
It continues a trend of Saudi clubs swooping for Liverpool’s prized assets after they tempted former captain Jordan Henderson to the Gulf state, along with Fabinho and Roberto Firmino. They also wanted Alisson earlier in the summer, and are keen on Joe Gomez and Ibou Konate.
Al-Ittihad, the club who want Salah, have already signed Fabinho from Anfield this summer, and have tempted former Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante to the club, along with ex-Wolves and Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo.
Salah trained on Wednesday and was pictured looking relaxed with a smile on his face. The Egyptian spent a day off on Tuesday in London, where he took in some artefacts from his homeland during a trip to a museum.
Liverpool would steadfastly rebuke any attempts, with manager Klopp now playing a more central role than ever in transfer strategy. The German boss will be privately worried about the Saudi raid on Liverpool and would be furious if Salah was to leave.
Since Michael Edwards and Julian Ward departed Liverpool, manager Klopp is influential in transfer strategy alongside current sporting director Jorg Schmadtke, who was crucial in tempting Dominik Szoboszlai to the club in a swift business deal.
Al-Ittihad have held interest in Salah all summer but that has ramped up in the last seven days. If they were to make a proposal to Liverpool four weeks ago, there is a feeling the club would have been more open to listening to offers.
Klopp said last Friday that there was nothing to report or talk about when asked about a bid for Salah, as no official approach had been made. But the Saudis are now willing to make a formal play to sign the Egyptian.
Salah is the player that Saudi clubs view as the biggest venture yet given his profile as the biggest Arab athlete in the world
Jurgen Klopp has so far maintained a stance that the club won’t sell Salah this summer
The Saudi Arabian transfer window remains open until September 7, a week after the English one closes – to the anger of Klopp. Salah is 31 and on around £350,000 a week at Liverpool, and they could cash in next summer if they rebuke attempts in the coming weeks.
The Saudis also want defenders Konate and Gomez. Those close to French defender Konate say that he is 100 per cent committed to Liverpool and would not be tempted to move. Gomez, on the other hand, might fancy more playing time – though Klopp does not want to sell him.
Young full back Conor Bradley’s injury is worse than first feared – as Mail Sport reported a fortnight ago – and this means Liverpool are thin in defensive areas, with Gomez the back-up option at right back and central defence.
Though Al-Ittihad face an uphill struggle in the coming days, they believe they have been given enough encouragement to make a formal offer and are now willing to test the resolve of Liverpool chiefs.
As the Saudis made their play for Salah, Klopp moved instead to strengthen his side further yesterday as Liverpool opened formal talks with Bayern Munich for long-term target Ryan Gravenberch.
Bayern are now open to selling the Dutch midfielder as they bid for Fulham’s Joao Palhinha and talks were ongoing with Liverpool last night over a fee.
Manchester United had also enquired about Gravenberch but are now negotiating for Fiorentina’s Sofyan Amrabat.
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