Liverpool get Mo Salah boost as Saudi club enter crisis after making £150m offer

Jurgen Klopp dismisses Mohamed Salah transfer talk

Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad have been in a state of crisis since their £150million bid for Mohamed Salah was rejected by Liverpool over the summer. The PIF-owned club currently sit in fifth place in Saudi Arabia’s top tier despite being able to call upon the services of last year’s Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema as well as former Premier League stars N’Golo Kante and Fabinho.

Liverpool will be boosted by Al-Ittihad’s slide as the oil-rich club no longer look like the most attractive proposition for their star winger. The Tigers tabled a number of bids in excess of £100m for the Egyptian icon, including one worth £150m, but despite their best efforts Liverpool refused to budge.

While Salah continues to tear it up in the Premier League with 16 goal contributions in his opening 12 games for the Merseyside outfit this season, Al-Ittihad, who won the Saudi Pro League title last campaign, are 11 points adrift of table toppers Al-Hilal heading into matchday 14.

Fellow PIF-owned sides Al-Nassr and Al-Ahli also sit ahead of them in the league while Al-Taawoun, a club who don’t have access to the same lavish funds, lead them by a single point. 

Things are going considerably better for Al-Ittihad in the AFC Champions League where they top their group after four games. However, their recent 2-0 defeat to Iraqi side Al Quwa Al Jawiya has put them under pressure, not just on the pitch but off it as well.

Multiple reports claim sacked Al-Ittihad boss Nuno Santo and Benzema traded verbal jabs in the dressing at halftime. A source told Arab News that the bust-up started after Nuno directed his frustrations at his star striker during the break.

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Nuno is said to have told Benzema: “You are a great player, but it seems that you are being lazy in putting pressure on the opponent.” Benzema reportedly then said: “Don’t just talk to me, talk to the whole group.”

One day later Al-Ittihad cut ties with the Portugese manager. A statement from the club read: “The club announces the termination of the contractual relationship with Portuguese coach Nuno Santo, after a comprehensive technical evaluation process for the last stage in which he took over the task of supervising the training of the first football team.

“Al-Ittihad club thanks coach Nuno Santo for what he provided during his tenure, wishing him success in the coming period.”

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