Saudi Pro League star Fabio Martins expects a renewed effort to sign Mohamed Salah from Liverpool when the January transfer window opens.
When Saudi officials first approved their immense investment plan, Salah was named as a top transfer priority alongside Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba. The duo were earmarked for potential moves in 2024 but, in Salah’s case, the plan was accelerated 12 months.
Al Ittihad saw a verbal bid of £150m knocked back and, despite vowing to break the global transfer record – Neymar’s £200m move to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 – they failed to convince Liverpool to entertain offers for Salah.
Saudi Pro League director Michael Emenalo recently admitted the door remains open to another push to try sign Salah in the future, and Martins, who joined Al Khaleej in January, expects to see those efforts made as soon as January.
“If this transfer happens, it will be another big star arriving here to the country,” Martins told Stats Perform at the Thinking Football Summit. “Playing against Salah would be very special too.
“It didn’t happen [this time] but I think in the next market in January, they will try for sure again to bring him, and let’s see what happens.
“I will be very happy because Salah is a player that I like, he’s similar to me, because of the hair, the way he plays. So, I like Salah, and I hope that he comes to Saudi.”
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90min understands that Salah is interested in making the move to the Middle East and Saudi officials remain keen to land their top target, with their plan always centred around a transfer in 2024 anyway.
While it was Al Ittihad who were at the heart of the story this summer, it is not yet clear whether they will be the club who attempt to sign Salah next year, with the Public Investment Fund (PIF) also capable of launching bids on behalf of the other three clubs under their control – Al Hilal, Al Nassr and Al Ahli.
Salah inked a new three-year contract at Liverpool last summer, tying himself to Anfield until 2025, and so there will be just 12 months remaining on his contract when the 2024 summer transfer window comes around.
LISTEN NOW TO 90MIN’S TALKING TRANSFERS PODCAST
On this edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders is joined by Graeme Bailey to discuss Al Ittihad’s attempts to sign Mohamed Salah, Jadon Sancho’s Man Utd future, the players that could still leave the Premier League and more!
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