Saudi Pro League director makes stance clear on Mohamed Salah interest

Saudi Pro League's director of football, Michael Emenalo, has claimed he will not instigate a move for Mohamed Salah this January, but reiterated his interest in the Liverpool forward.

Salah has been a known target of the newly monied Saudi Pro League since the summer, when Al Ittihad saw a bid reportedly worth up to £150m rejected for the Reds' record Premier League goalscorer.

Speculation over the Egyptian's future since then has remained a hot topic.

Salah's current contract with Liverpool is set to end in 2025 and Liverpool must weigh up the options of offering to extend the 31-year-old's terms, sell him or risk losing him on free transfer in 18 months' time.

Regular reports indicate that the Saudis see Salah as a key target due to his draw as the biggest Arab sporting superstar on the planet.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Emenalo, the Saudi Pro League's transfer chief, reaffirmed his league's position on Salah as a potential transfer target.

"Mo Salah, like [Lionel] Messi, [Karim] Benzema, [Cristiano] Ronaldo and the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, these are players that, when there is a sense of availability for them, we are willing to listen," he said. "But we also understand that Mo is happy where he is at present and in a historic, wonderful club at Liverpool. We respect that very much and we don't want to come across as putting any pressure on him.

"But if there is any interest to do something, Mo Salah is a player that you want in your league, in any league."

Asked if he would rule out a move for Salah in the January transfer window, Emenalo seemed to suggest that the Saudi clubs would not make an offer unless prompted to next month.

"We respect Liverpool and in this scenario, the initiative to do anything won't come from us," he said.

“There has to be an aligned interest from all parties involved. It's a very personal thing, as a player that I recruited [for Chelsea] and I like.

“There's nothing I'm saying that is new or ground-breaking - that a player of this level of talent is available and your league wants him.

"If Mo Salah is available, has an interest to come and everything is aligned, I would be incredibly delighted."

Interestingly, 58-year-old Emenalo was the technical director at Chelsea back in 2014 when Salah joined the Blues from Basel.

Mo Salah, Crystal Palace vs Liverpool - Pro Shots.

Mo Salah, Crystal Palace vs Liverpool - Pro Shots.

With 14 goals and seven assists in all competitions for Liverpool so far in 2023/24, Salah has been as crucial as ever for the Reds – despite having passed 30 years old and the continued speculation over his future.

The former Roma winger became just the fifth Liverpool player in history to reach 200 goals for the club with his equaliser against Crystal Palace last weekend.

Earlier this season, Jurgen Klopp described the forward as being not biologically comparable to other players of a similar age and even likened his star man to a teenager.

The manager said: "Mo doesn’t behave like [he is 30] at all. Off the pitch he behaves, he is a grown man, beyond that he is still a young player. He is top fit I think if we were to scan him the majority of the bones are aged 19 or 20! He just keeps himself in such good shape.

"I cannot compare Mo to other 30-year-olds because I don't think biologically he is [the same]."

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