How Mohamed Salah saved Roma and Liverpool at the same time
The transfer of the Egyptian between the two clubs, in the summer of 2017, brought to them what they crucially needed: money for Roma and a goal scorer for Liverpool.
In a signature, he saved Roma. In a season, he gave life again to Liverpool. The semi-final between the two clubs in the champions League, in which Mohammed Salah shined bright in the first leg without killing the suspense (5-2), is a celebration of the Egyptian brought to both teams.
It is rare to see two clubs benefit in one transfer, but this was the case when, in the summer of 2017, Salah was transferred from Roma to Liverpool, even if the Roman fans lament that they lost a player who will now be named as one of the candidates for the next Ballon d’Or and whose value will now be pegged at 168 million Euros. A gold mine for a player who didn’t even play in one of the 10 top African club before going to Europe, in Basel more precisely.
The transfer which cost 42 million Euros was not noticed in a market which has become more and more irrational and focused on the saga of the transfer to PSG of the Brazilian player Neymar, for a sum five times above that of Salah.
And, strange as it may seem in hindsight, it seemed to satisfy the seller club more. Roma were under pressure from UEFA to balance their accounts: sanctioned in 2015 as part of the financial fair play, the club giallorosso had committed to present a maximum deficit of 30 million euros for the next two seasons and a strictly balanced budget in 2017-2018.
« It was the best we could do»
To be under the 30 million Euros deficit, the club, which did not take part in the Champions League this season, had to sell its best player before the end of the financial exercise of June, 30 2017. The club was not in a position of control in the negotiations: “Who knows this business a little bit knows what it means to have a sword of Damocles over your head”, summarizes “”, the sports director of the Roman club, expert of the transfer market.
He explained to the Spanish radio Onda Cero: « When I came, there was an offer of 30 million Euros and, with the bonus; I came up to close to 50 million Euros. It was the best that one could do at that moment. If we had not done it, we probably wouldn’t have probably played in the semi-finals of the Champions League because UEFA was monitoring us closely. “
If UEFA has just announced that Roma has remained in the parameters financially for the past year, it is thanks to this negotiation.
And if Salah was the major player for Roma in the past season, from a role of a winger and a dribbler to that of scorer and organizer of the game, his statistics (15 goals, 11 assists) and his age (25 years already) were not yet a crack.
“At the time, it seemed to me to represent a lot of Euros”
In June 2017, when the owners of the two clubs had celebrated together this transfer around a breakfast, it is indeed the owner of Roma, James Pallotta, who had taken the bill. Because 42 million, “It seemed to me to represent a lot of euros at the time!”, teased John W. Henry, owner of Liverpool, in the Wall Street Journal. Ah, yes: lunch took place in Boston, city of the new owners of Liverpool and Roma, two billionaires who have succeeded in the financial world before investing in sport.
At the end, the Reds also made a good deal. Since the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona, in 2014, a striker was the missing link in Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool. Daniel Sturridge had never fully convinced, Philippe Coutinho couldn’t play the role.
During the offseason, the staffs of Jürgen Klopp were still looking for someone to complement the attack formed by the Brazilians Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and the Senegalese Sadio Mané. Julian Brandt, the German international of Bayer Leverkusen, would have had to be that one, before refusing for the fear of being on the bench too often.
Luckily for Liverpool, Klopp understood that Salah could be something else than a winger. He allowed him to play a free role, picking the ball from the mid-field to score his peculiar goals, a flick above the keeper by intercepting a full-length pass or striking the opposite corner.
Salah is now the league top scorer and might break significant records if he maintains his level until the very end of the season. This is so unexpected that even Bet365, a reference in the betting industry, didn’t offer to bet on that at the beginning of the season.
In the return match of the Champions League semi-final between As Roma and Liverpool, the Reds even became the first team to score a goal in the Roman stadium. Qualified in final against Real Madrid, Liverpool will not be the bookmaker’s favourite team. However, you can always try your luck and enjoy a few bonuses with William Hill promo code, and hoping for Salah to be in a very good shape!