Football: Reds to smash club record, hope it won't be Salah move

Roma midfielder Mohamed Salah vying for the ball with AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. Salah had 15 goals and 11 assists in the past Italian Serie A season, and has caught the eye of Liverpool again.
Roma midfielder Mohamed Salah vying for the ball with AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. Salah had 15 goals and 11 assists in the past Italian Serie A season, and has caught the eye of Liverpool again.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Mohamed Salah will be given another chance to prove that he can be a hit in the English Premier League, as he prepares to undergo a medical check-up with Liverpool today.

Liverpool expect to complete a club-record £39 million (S$69 million) deal for the Egyptian winger this week, and will pay Roma an initial fee of about £35 million.

That matches the club-record sum they paid Newcastle United for Andy Carroll in January 2011. It will be topped up by £4 million in additional payments, depending on the player's progress.

Personal terms are believed to have been agreed, and the 25-year-old is set to sign a four-year deal with the option of a further 12 months. He will be paid about £90,000 a week - double his wage in Italy.

Signing him represents a case of second time lucky for Liverpool, who had wanted Salah in 2014 only to see him move to Chelsea instead from the Swiss club Basel.

He struggled to make an impact at Stamford Bridge, however, and in 2015 moved to Italy, joining Fiorentina on loan before moving to Roma, also on loan, soon after. That became a long-term move last August and Salah has subsequently flourished for the Giallorossi.

In the last Serie A season, he had 15 goals and 11 assists in 31 league appearances. Only Napoli's Jose Callejon had more assists (12), although Salah missed a month of the season as he helped Egypt reach the African Cup of Nations final.

Salah will be looking to prove that he is a different player than the one that was limited to just 531 minutes of Premier League action with Chelsea.

Jurgen Klopp believes he can provide Liverpool with an injection of pace in their frontline, something all but absent when Senegal star Sadio Mane - the manager's only other established wide player - is unavailable.

Salah's ability to stretch defences makes him an ideal piece in Klopp's jigsaw. With both Africans on the flanks, Klopp could employ playmaker Philippe Coutinho in a deeper role, where his vision and creativity will be maximised.

The Brazilian spent most of last season playing on the left side of a front three, but enjoyed one of his best performances from a deeper position in central midfield, scoring two goals and creating another in a 4-0 victory at West Ham.

Ironically, Chelsea will also benefit from Salah's move. The English champions will receive between £2.3 million and £2.7 million from Roma as a result of a sell-on clause when Salah left Stamford Bridge for £12 million last summer.

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2017, with the headline 'Reds to smash club record, hope it won't be Salah move'. Print Edition | Subscribe