Mohamed Salah will go down as one of the greatest players in Liverpool’s history.
That’s not recency bias, either.
The Egyptian has scored an incredible 134 goals in 212 appearances for the club since arriving in 2017 for an initial £36.5 million.
At the time, there were doubts over Salah’s signing.
After all, his previous spell in England wasn’t exactly a success.
He spent a couple of years at Chelsea but struggled to force his way into Jose Mourinho’s plans. He played just 19 times at Stamford Bridge before being sold to Roma, following a loan spell at I Giallorossi and Fiorentina.
But the £36.5 million Liverpool decided to spend on Salah more than four years has proven to be one the best pieces of business they’ve ever done.
Salah’s performances – and goals – have helped the club win their first ever Premier League title, as well as the Champions League, Super Cup and Club World Cup.
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But not even those involved in the deal to bring Salah to Anfield could have predicted what he would go on to achieve.
In fact, a report in The Times just months after he arrived suggests Salah was actually Liverpool’s FOURTH choice winger in the summer of 2017. Liverpool had originally tried to sign him before he decided to move to Chelsea in 2013 and the club had looked at plenty of alternatives in that time.
The Times wrote: “Liverpool scouted about 15 wide players between missing out on Salah and signing him. Klopp has conceded that it was Dave Fallows, head of scouting and recruitment, Barry Hunter, the chief scout, and Michael Edwards, the sporting director, whose background checks extended to spying missions at training camps as well as matches, who constantly pushed his case.
“[He joined] only after Liverpool had looked at other targets. Borussia Dortmund refused to let Christian Pulisic leave, Julian Draxler was pursued last January, opting to move instead to Paris Saint-Germain from Wolfsburg, and Julian Brandt chose to stay at Bayer Leverkusen fearing that he would not play regularly at Anfield.”
So it seems Liverpool wanted Pulisic, Draxler or Brandt ahead of Salah. Fortunately for the Reds, moves for those three players failed to materialise.
But what has happened to that trio since 2017?
While they’re all fantastic players in their own right, it’s clear that Liverpool can thank their lucky stars that they didn’t manage to sign them ahead of Salah.
Pulisic remained at Dortmund in 2017 and the American scored 12 goals in 72 appearances in the following two seasons for the German club.
That was enough for Chelsea to sign him for £58 million.
At most other clubs in world football, Pulisic would be a star but, at Chelsea, he’s a bit-part player having played 79 times since his arrival in the summer of 2019, scoring 18 goals.
Still only 23 and a Champions League winner, Pulisic has plenty of time to fulfil his incredible potential.
Draxler is still at Paris Saint-Germain but isn’t producing numbers anywhere near Salah. In fact, since his arrival at the Parc des Princes, he’s scored just 26 in 184 matches.
At the age of 28, the German is just one year Salah’s junior but is a long way off his standard.
Brandt feared he wouldn’t play regularly at Liverpool and stayed at Bayer Leverkusen for two more seasons, scoring a further 22 goals.
That earned him a move to Borussia Dortmund in 2019. However, things haven’t gone too swimmingly for the 25-year-old at Westfalenstadion. He managed just six Bundesliga goals in 64 appearances in his first two campaigns.
He has scored twice in four league matches this season but the 25-year-old can’t even be compared to Salah right now.