Salah’s retention for the Merseysiders was somewhat of a summer struggle in the face of a sizable bid from Al-Ittihad. And despite the fact that a £150 million British record bid was rejected, Liverpool can anticipate the Saudis making another updated offer this summer.
Liverpool has been informed of the harsh reality of the Egyptian’s impending departure since his contract will expire after the summer transfer window. However, given that his fee is expected to top £200 million, a new world record, there may be some solace for the Reds.
Nobody knows who Liverpool will choose to replace Salah with. The 31-year-old has scored an incredible 188 goals in his six seasons with Merseyside; accusations that he is a selfish star are completely false given that he also has 76 assists to his credit, the most recent two coming in Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Wolves.
Indeed, rumours have started to circulate about who Liverpool will choose to replace Salah. In fact, three Liverpool Echo writers had a fruitful discussion on the subject and presented five choices, of whom two are already active in the Premier League.
Nico Williams of Athletic Bilbao is one name that is starting to gain traction, at least in Spain.
The 21-year-old had a strong debut season last time out, managing nine goals and six assists from 43 appearances, but he is still far from being a finished product.
Villa frantically seeking Liverpool target Nico Williams
The winger’s current contract with Athletic Club is set to expire in the summer of 2024; therefore, if he does not reach an extension with the LaLiga team by January 1, he will be able to consider a free-transfer move abroad.
Barcelona, who are interested in his services, especially given his possible status as a free agent, have apparently been made aware of his condition.
However, AS claims that Liverpool are currently the front-runners to sign Williams, with Klopp actively seeking his services.
In fact, it’s said that Klopp and company are prepared to get in touch with his group in an effort to convince him that Anfield is where his future lies. If Salah were to leave, he might have an easy time breaking into Liverpool’s starting lineup.
Aston Villa, though, also poses a challenge to the strategy.
Despite claims that they were prepared to pay the €50 million (£43 million) escape clause in his contract, they watched an attempt to wrest him from Athletic Club in the summer window fail.
Emery, the manager of Villa, is allegedly still interested in a deal despite the failure to sign him. The Villa manager is pressuring his team to spend a lot of money on his signing in January even though he is free to discuss terms for a free transfer to another team.
Athletic want to convince star to sign new contract.
Williams may yet be persuaded to relocate to the West Midlands by the initiative Emery has to offer, Emery hopes and believes.
Villa is apparently preparing a sizable offer, and they are hoping that by making a sizable offer, Athletic will try to push the star to join them rather than losing the player for nothing a few months later.
For their part, Athletic Bilbao isn’t ready to give up on the superstar either. They are still hoping to convince him to agree to a new, long-term contract in the Basque region, which would put an end to rumours over his whereabouts.
Athletic president Jon Uriarte recently highlighted that they are working hard to persuade the 10-times-capped Spain star that his future must be with Bilbao while providing an update on the matter and expressing his confidence that Williams will stay.
“Nico, along with his family and mother Inaki, are content in Bilbao. They cherish Athletic. They adore our endeavour. For him to remain, we are making a lot of effort on both sides.
Nico is not the only Williams listed on the club’s roster, as Uriarte notes. Williams senior was once the target of Liverpool interest. His brother Inaki is also a long-time star of the LaLiga team.