WITH a deal for Roma winger Mohamed Salah now confirmed by Liverpool at fee of an initial £34million possibly rising to £39m, we take a look at what the former Chelsea player is bringing to Anfield’s attacking armoury.
Who is he and what’s he like?
The 25-year-old left-footed Egypt international can play across the midfield and forward line but has played most of his football on the right.
Salah joined Chelsea from Basel for £11million in January 2014 after making 47 appearances for the Swiss side, scoring nine goals.
Liverpool were also interested at the time but although it was widely reported that Salah “snubbed” Brendan Rodgers back then, the player has sought to clarify the situation, claiming protracted negotiations between the Reds and the Swiss club failed to result in an agreement on a fee.
“Negotiations took a long time, because Basel rejected more than one offer,” he said. “They felt the transfer fee was not that high. I was waiting for Liverpool because I really like Liverpool. I was eager to join them.
“But then I received a phone call from Mourinho and that changed everything. He explained the situation to me and told me that he needed me at Chelsea. That was one of the main reasons why I joined Chelsea.”
Statistics for Mo Salah in 2016/17. By far his best season yet! – pic.twitter.com/lED2nQKIFf
— ScoutNation™ (@ScoutNationHD) June 1, 2017
Salah made only 19 appearances for Chelsea, scoring two goals and assisting four, before he joined Fiorentina on loan. There, he played 26 times, scoring nine and assisting four before a successful loan spell at Roma that led to a permanent £13m deal.
He helped Roma finish second in Serie A last season, scoring 15 goals and providing 18 assists in 31 league appearances.
The race for his signature
Liverpool were reported to have agreed a £90,000-a-week deal with Salah at the start of June but Roma and The Reds continued to haggle over a transfer fee for the player until this week.
A £28million bid was apparently rejected, with Roma initially pushing for £40m. Reports now claim that an initial fee of £34m was agreed with add-ons eventually taking the deal to close to £40m.
Salah’s agent Ramy Abbas Issa set tongues wagging from the star when his Instagram story showed he was flying to the UK. He also followed Liverpool’s official Twitter and Instagram accounts. Further posts underlined his frustration – and possibly that of his client’s – when a fee couldn’t be agreed. Thankfully, they got there in the end with Liverpool desperate for a shot in the arm following the Virgil van Dijk saga.
What they said about Salah
Jose Mourinho: “We had to go for a young player, for a left-footed player and for a fast player – especially who is fast in the space because most of my attacking players are fast and fast with the ball.
“I like the fact that he can play the same way as our attacking players do, which is players with adaptability to play right, left or behind the striker in the model we have with normally — one striker and three behind the striker.
“He’s young like our players in that area. He’s fast, creative, enthusiastic. When we analyse him he looks the kind of humble personality on the pitch, ready to work for the team and adapt to a new life.
“Salah is a kind of player that looks for the space and tries to get behind people so we think he was a good choice.”
Xavi: “As for Arab footballers playing in Europe I really like Roma’s Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah, Porto’s Algerian player Yacine Brahimi as well as Valencia’s Sofiane Feghouli, who is also Algerian.
“Salah is a super fast player, sometimes his speed is unbelievable. His strength is his amazing speed and charging defenders as soon as he gets possession.”
Hector Cuper: “I like players who are similar to Salah, the type of players who always puts the team first. I can’t ask him for more than what he is already providing for the team. He is a talented, modest and responsible player.”
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Luciano Spalletti (his manager at Roma): “Salah is an exceptional player. He is the best player I’ve coached in my career.”
Vincenzo Montella (his manager at Fiorentina): “Who did better out of the Cuadrado exchange? Fiorentina earned a lot of money and, on the pitch, they are similar players. Salah is a player that, even if he takes some breaks, is devastating over 40 or 50 yards.
“I think he can play any position in attack. He attacks the space well and is very good at getting straight into the groove of a game when coming off the bench.”
What’s his injury record like?
Well come on, it matters doesn’t it?
According to transfermarkt.co.uk in the past five years or so, Salah has suffered seven injuries, the worst in 2015-16, an ankle issue that saw him miss five games.