Friday 20 September 2019

I turned down the chance to sign Salah, admits Emery

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA

Simon Collings

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has revealed he turned down the chance to sign Mohamed Salah for Paris Saint-Germain as he and the club had doubts about how the Egyptian would perform for a "big team".

Emery, who was in charge of PSG from June 2016 to May 2018, said the French champions were tracking Salah when he was at Roma, before he joined Liverpool in the summer of 2017.

The club's scouts had identified the forward as a possible target but PSG opted not to follow through with a move. Liverpool then signed Salah for an initial fee of £35 million and he went on to score 44 goals in all competitions last season.

Emery, whose Arsenal side face leaders Liverpool at Anfield today, admits PSG made an error. "We spoke about the possibility to sign Salah when he was playing at Roma," he said. "We had some doubts - and then he signed for Liverpool and these doubts he has broken. Now, if you are speaking about the five top players in the world, one is Salah."

When pressed on exactly what doubts he had about the Egypt international, Emery said: "How he can take the performance in one big team. For example, PSG in Paris."

Emery now faces the task of stopping Salah at Anfield. After coming under fire for his performances earlier this season, the forward is in fine form with six goals in his past five games.

Salah's upturn in form has helped Liverpool to hit top gear and, since drawing with Arsenal at the Emirates on November 3, they have won eight league games in a row.

Emery views today's match as the perfect test of how far Arsenal are from being title contenders.

Irish Independent

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