There have been strong reports overnight that Liverpool are close to completing the signing of Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah.
The former Chelsea winger, who turned down a move to Merseyside in favour of signing for the London club when Liverpool were first interested under Brendan Rodgers, could be a Liverpool player as early as next Tuesday. Reports in his native country suggest that a medical has already been booked in at the club’s Melwood training ground, with a fee finally agreed with AS Roma.
Record breaking deal?
Salah is one of Liverpool's primary targets, and they had a bid of roughly £28 million turned down a couple of weeks ago. Roma were hoping to fetch up to £40 million for the player, but a likely fee is closer to the £35 million that Liverpool signed Andy Carroll for.
Even if Liverpool's transfer record is not smashed with this player – Sadio Mane, at £34 million, is the next highest fee after Carroll, although some reports suggest his transfer was worth more like £36 million – it is almost certain to later in the window with more signings to come.
Roma need to sell because of concerns over Financial Fair Play regulations, so Liverpool were prepared to wait to seal the deal, knowing the Italian club would be forced to sell eventually. Right from the start, it has seemed like only a matter of time.
Salah is expected to double his wages to around £90,000-a-week, and will offer an alternative in Liverpool's team to Sadio Mane; when Mane was missing from the side last season, either through injury or international duty, Liverpool lacked pace and width, hence the pursuit of a speedy winger.
Another quick, powerful player that Jurgen Klopp is said to be a big fan of is Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is entering the last year of his contract.
Writing in the Sunday Times, Jonathan Northcroft reports that the England international is ready to “spark a transfer scramble” by telling his employers he does not want to sign a new deal.
With Arsenal not wanting to lose him for free next summer, they would be forced to sell, although they hope to get more than £35 million for the player, who is interesting Chelsea and Manchester City as well as the Reds. Liverpool are unlikely to sanction a fee that high for the player, but would not baulk at paying up to £30 million.
Klopp is attracted by Chamberlain’s versatility and speed, and at the age of just 23, with Champions League and Premier League experience, he fits the profile. Arsenal would be loathe to lose him, but with less than a year left on his contract, the power is entirely in the hands of the player.
Both players feature towards the top of Liverpool's transfer target list, and after a slightly slower start to the window than many fans were hoping for with only Dominic Solanke confirmed, it seems like significant progress has been made. Salah, in particular, could be imminent, providing a Virgil van Dijk-esque u-turn is not in the offing.
Liverpool are still in the market for a central defender, and could yet go back for Van Dijk if the player forces the issue, whilst Naby Keita of RB Leipzig is their other main target. Both of those deals would be prioritised after the Salah deal is done.