Liverpool are currently locked in negotiations with Roma over a potential transfer for Mohamed Salah, a source has told ESPN FC.
Salah nearly joined Liverpool in January 2014 before Chelsea eventually won his signature. However, it appears the Reds’ interest has remained following his successful spells at Fiorentina and Roma in Serie A.
ESPN FC lists five reasons why Liverpool should look to sign the Egypt international this summer.
1. He would add much-needed pace to Jurgen Klopp’s side
Aside from Sadio Mane and young Sheyi Ojo, Liverpool are severely lacking speed within their ranks. Klopp’s relentless, attacking style of play worked best when Mane used his pace to beat players and break through the last line of defence.
Defenders simply struggle in dealing with speed — along with end product — and Liverpool need more of it for Champions League football next season.
“Perhaps only [Lionel] Messi is faster than him with the ball at one’s feet,” former Fiorentina boss Vincenzo Montella said of Salah. Salah’s acceleration would also be highly effective on the counterattack — a significant characteristic of Liverpool’s tactics.
2. Philippe Coutinho may move deeper next season
Towards the end of the last campaign there were signs Coutinho’s future may lie in the middle of the park. Klopp hinted that next season the Brazil international may operate in a central-midfield role, believing it would bring the best out of his creativity.
It was an approach that was highly effective when Coutinho scored two and provided an assist at West Ham from the No. 8 position back in April. Coutinho played predominantly as a left forward for the majority of the 2016-17 season, so there would be a spot in the frontline for Salah should Coutinho, indeed, be asked to dictate proceedings from deeper.
3. Other targets appear to be unavailable
Liverpool’s pursuit of a winger of the squad goes back to last summer. The Reds reportedly had a €13 million bid for Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic rejected in August, sources told ESPN FC, before the 18-year-old American signed a long-term contract in January.
Sources then said Liverpool also were keen on recruiting Bayer Leverkusen’s Julian Brandt, but were aware that regular playing time would be a significant factor in any summer move. Both young forwards appear to be going nowhere this summer despite Liverpool’s interest. It now appears Salah is back on Liverpool’s radar after narrowly missing out to Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea three seasons ago.
4. The £35m fee represents value for a player in his peak
In his first meeting with the media as new Liverpool chief executive, Peter Moore stressed that the Merseyside club would not get into an “arms race” with rivals and continue to spend “wisely” in the transfer market.
Roma are reportedly seeking at least £35m for Salah, which would equal Liverpool’s transfer record. Andy Carroll remains the Reds’ most expensive signing following his move from Newcastle United in 2011, but the transfer market has moved on considerably in the five years since. In the current climate, £35 million for a player who could make a considerable impact would represent good business.
Salah is coming off the best season his career — where he scored 19 goals in 41 appearances for Roma in all competitions. It is also worth remembering people raised their eyebrows at Mane’s £30m transfer fee last summer.
5. Liverpool are willing to forget a player’s previous struggles
Under the ownership of Fenway Sports Group, Liverpool have always looked to obtain value when they can with transfers. The struggles of Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge at Inter Milan and Chelsea respectively did not put Liverpool off signing the pair for a decent fee. The return on the investment for the pair has been considerable.
Coutinho is on the cusp of becoming an elite player, while Sturridge is Liverpool’s fourth-quickest post-war player to reach 50 goals.
Salah’s time at Chelsea was not eye-catching. The Egypt international struggled to force his way into the starting XI and made just 19 appearances across two seasons, scoring two goals, before being sent out on loan to Fiorentina. However, he has got his career back on track in Italy with Roma, and Liverpool appear to be unmoved by his unsuccessful stay in the Premier League.
Glenn is ESPN FC’s Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.