Mohamed Salah is in the spotlight. The Liverpool forward has been a revelation this season and is considered to be the main threat to Real Madrid’s hopes of winning a third straight Champions League crown this weekend.
Liverpool meet their opponents in Kiev on Saturday and at Real’s media open day on Tuesday, several of the players were asked about the Egypt forward. And although all answered diplomatically, stressing that the Reds are a far from a one-man team, they are well aware of the danger he can cause.
“His numbers have impressed me,” Toni Kroos said. “To be honest, I haven’t seen many of his matches, but he has played some great games in the Premier League and in the Champions League. He can create difficulties for us, so we will have to find solutions.”
Earlier, Zinedine Zidane was asked in a press conference if he would swap Cristiano Ronaldo for Salah. And his response, unsurprisingly, was negative. Four days before a Champions League final featuring the two players, however, he was hardly likely to answer any differently.
But talk of Salah to Real Madrid has already started following the Egyptian’s superb season at Anfield. And here, Goal takes a look at the situation and asks whether a transfer could happen either this summer or in future…
Salah’s record-breaking season at Liverpool
Salah signed for Liverpool from Roma last summer for an initial €42 million fee which now looks like an absolute bargain after his superb season at Anfield.
In this, his debut campaign for the Reds, Salah finished as top scorer in the Premier League, with 32 goals in his 36 apparances as Liverpool claimed fourth place.
That saw the Egyptian win the Golden Boot, while he was also voted the PFA Player of the Year by his fellow professionals for his fine form in the league and in Europe, where he has netted 11 in 14 games to help the Reds to the Champions League final.
And it is not only his goals. Salah’s skills out on the wing, his dribbling ability, trickery and link-up play have added an extra dimension to Liverpool’s attack in 2017-18 and everyone at Anfield will hope he stays right where he is for as long as possible.
What are Real Madrid’s transfer plans this summer?
Real Madrid are set for a busy summer in the transfer market, with a number of players set to be brought in by Los Blancos regardless of what happens in the Champions League final on Saturday.
With Kiko Casilla set to depart, Real are in the market for a new goalkeeper either as understudy or to provide competition for Keylor Navas, while Los Blancos are also looking to bring in a right-back as cover for Dani Carvajal, with a central defender and a striker also priorities.
The departures of Alvaro Morata and Mariano last summer left Karim Benzema as the only senior centre-forward at the club, with only Borja Mayoral as back-up, and Madrid have struggled for goals at times this term – particularly in the first half of La Liga.
Zidane announced a while back that there will be changes this summer and that is understandable after Benzema’s indifferent season, Gareth Bale’s uncertain situation and the fact that Ronaldo is now 33.
If Bale leaves, Madrid would almost certainly bring in another forward and Neymar is likely to be their top target, with the Brazilian keen on forcing through a move to the Santiago Bernabeu this summer.
Could Real Madrid bid for Salah?
Real Madrid, like every other club, have watched Salah’s success at Liverpool with interest. However, there are no current plans to bring in the 25-year-old.
If Bale leaves in the summer, that would free up a place in the forward line and the Welshman usually plays on the right for Real, which is also the Egyptian’s position.
However, Madrid are well aware that signing Salah would likely cost in excess of €200m and that fee is considered steep – even for Los Blancos.
Real would contemplate paying that sort of money for Neymar, a long-term obsession of president Florentino Perez, who would love to exploit the South American market by bringing in the Brazilian.
Currently, however, there are no plans to sign Salah after his one standout season with Liverpool and especially given the outlay it would require. As things stand, a summer bid is unlikely, although a frustrated pursuit of Neymar could make them think again.
Would Salah and Liverpool be open to a transfer?
Salah is happy at Liverpool and the club are understandably delighted with the player. Interviewed on the pitch at Anfield after the last game of the season, he was asked if he could repeat his feats again in 2018-19. “Yes, I will, don’t worry!” he replied.
There is a genuine belief from the player and his camp that at least one more season at Liverpool would be the best thing for him at this stage. He gets on very well with Jurgen Klopp, even if there is a bit of irritation from the manager about the ‘Salah obsession’ from the media, and he is a very popular figure in the dressing room.
The 25-year-old is close to Dejan Lovren and Sadio Mane in particular and he lives closer to Manchester than Liverpool, allowing him to escape some of the mania around his performances. He also values the work of his team-mates and asked Jordan Henderson along to collect his PFA award with him, in order to recognise that it is not an individual effort.
Having moved around a fair bit in his career already, Salah is keen to stay with Liverpool for the foreseeable future and the club are set to improve his terms this summer. At Anfield, there is no current concern that he could be tempted away at this stage, as Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho were in recent seasons.
After speculation over a move to Madrid surfaced in January, Salah tweeted: “Well, I have heard so many rumours that it doesn’t bother me anymore. They have treated me very well in Liverpool and at this moment, I belong to Liverpool and I am happy at Anfield.”
In future, however, it is believed he would consider a transfer to Real, with Egypt coach Hector Cuper and former striker Ahmed Mido both saying they see the forward playing for Los Blancos one day.