Liverpool to strongly resist any approach for Mo Salah as Spanish giants ponder record bid
Liverpool will not sell Mohamed Salah under any circumstances this summer, with the club determined that the Egyptian remains central to their pursuit of honours.
Salah's 36 goals in his first season with the club – as well as his inspired performances for his country – has elevated his global status and led to the assumption that it is only a matter of time before Real Madrid and Barcelona make an approach.
The Spanish giants have successfully lured away several valuable Anfield assets including Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano, Luis Suarez and, most recently, Philippe Coutinho.
But the Merseyside club are in a position to stand firm and rebuff any approaches.
Liverpool resisted the Barcelona move for Coutinho last summer, but only for six months. However, the club's circumstances are much stronger on and off the pitch now – even compared to January, when they reluctantly conceded defeat in the battle to retain Coutinho.
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The long-term aim of owners Fenway Sports Group, and manager Jurgen Klopp, is to ensure Liverpool is an ultimate destination for players rather than a stepping-stone club. Liverpool's footballing and financial situation in recent times made that impossible in recent years, but the club's Champions League progress this season demonstrates how they are gradually making their way back to the level of the greatest European clubs.
Perhaps most significant is the club's growing financial strength. They have not yet spent any of the £142 million received for Coutinho.
On top of that, they have already earned about £50 million for reaching the Champions League quarter-finals this year, which will rise should they win the tie with Manchester City.
It is a long time since the club were in such a healthy position not only to invest in the team but, just as importantly, to protect the assets that have put them into this position.
Salah still has four years left on the deal he signed last summer, since when his value has soared.
Liverpool would not even put a price on him but independent valuations would suggest there are few clubs in the world capable of getting close to affording what the Egyptian is now worth. Real, Barcelona and Paris St-Germain have shown that they are prepared to break world record transfer fees.
Beyond that, only Manchester City or Manchester United have the finances to compete for him and there is no prospect of Liverpool doing business with a Premier League rival.
Coutinho's extraordinary price demonstrated how the transfer market was influenced by Neymar's £200 million move from Barcelona to PSG last summer.
Conveniently for Liverpool, they now have two-thirds of the Neymar transfer cash as a result of Barcelona replacing him with Coutinho. Klopp has the resources to be one of Europe's biggest spenders in the next transfer window, and will certainly feel he has the ability to rebuff any efforts to disrupt his squad.
Salah's value, meanwhile, may yet rise even further. He could become the first Liverpool player since Ian Rush to score 40 goals in a season; has the Champions League quarter-final in his sights and will lead Egypt's efforts at the World Cup. He is already a national hero at home as it was his goal that took his country to Russia.