The Saudi Pro League's director of football, Michael Emenalo, talks of one hope for January after speculation around Liverpool's Mo Salah.
Michael Emenalo is the current director of football for the Saudi Pro League - and that's a very powerful position right now. The summer saw the league make waves in the sport, attracting some of the world's best players to the country as cash flew about.
Liverpool witnessed this more than anyone. Roberto Firmino went there on a free transfer before offers came in for both Fabinho and Jordan Henderson. Even former players like Gini Wijnaldum and Sadio Mané are now in the Saudi Pro League.
But the biggest offer came in for Mo Salah. There was speculation that the league wanted to make Salah their star name - and would present a record-breaking transfer fee to Liverpool. Nothing came of it in the summer but the feeling is that there will be money on the table in January 2024.
That belief was furthered in October when Emenalo admitted that Salah is 'welcome at any time' and his 'personal favourite' in an interview with German outlet TZ.
It now seems, however, that there may be no offer at all. That's because Emenalo claims his ultimate hope for January is that the big offers for players slow down, bringing more investment in training facilities and the like.
“I’m hoping [January] is not very busy, because I think the job that was done has been quite interesting and aggressive, and most of the clubs, I believe, have what they need,” he told the league's media.
“And hopefully the attention will now turn to work within the training facilities to improve these players and to allow them time to adapt and perform. Now, whatever additional improvement that we need to do for any club, with time on our hands and preparation, we believe will be additions of the highest level.
“We will continue to support and to see every opportunity we have to bring more talented individuals that want to come to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that is open for business.”
Of course, Emenalo more than leaves the door open there for more big-money bids. Neymar's injury leaves Al-Hilal without a superstar, for one thing, and we imagine one 'improvement' will be a replacement there.
So while Emenalo may not be eager for massive signings, it's still very much possible that Salah is the subject of a bid. If not in January, then next summer.