After seeming to throw doubt over his Liverpool future on Saturday, Mohamed Salah has reemerged as a summer target at Real Madrid.
Real Madrid are keeping a close eye on Mohamed Salah's situation after the star appeared to leave the door open to a Liverpool departure in a post-Champions League final interview with Movistar+ on Saturday evening.
Having only extended his Anfield contract until 2023 last July, Salah had not been seen as a likely summer target at Madrid, but with the forward not ruling out a move, ears have pricked up in the Spanish capital - and in Manchester and Munich, too - at a potential transfer which, in no small part, will come down to three key people surrounding the player: Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, with whom he had a major bust-up earlier this season; his agent, Ramy Abbas; and Sadio Mané, his club-mate and good friend, who renewed his Reds deal recently... because he thought the Egypt international was staying.
Salah, Klopp involved in bust-up earlier this season
The chief catalyst behind Salah's current frame of mind is his rapport with Klopp. As was revealed by AS in April, the pair were involved in a furious spat that left the player absolutely fuming with his boss; indeed, the 26-year-old even threatened to submit a transfer request. With Liverpool challenging for the Premier League and the Champions League, a truce was agreed - but Salah will now assess his relationship with Klopp this summer.
The newly-crowned European champions are holding on to the fact that the player renewed last year, signing a deal that doubled his salary to an annual 11.8m euros gross and that does not include any kind of buy-out clause (as is the norm at the club). Despite that, though, Liverpool legend Graeme Souness has said that he feels it will be "very difficult" for the club to keep hold of Salah and Mané for very long, while John Barnes, another club great, went a step further as he reacted to the announcement of the Egyptian's contract extension 12 months ago. "Every club is a selling club," Barnes declared. "If Real Madrid offered £200m for Salah then he'd go and Liverpool would then be a selling club."
Friendship with Mané could help Reds' cause
This is where Mané comes in. The Senegalese signed a new Liverpool contract in part because of his desire to continue playing alongside Salah, with whom he has a close relationship. They are such good pals that Mané, who promised his strike partner he'd give him a lion if he scored in the Champions League final (he did), is due to visit his strike partner in Egypt this summer. Their connection is a factor that could help Liverpool's bid to persuade Salah to stay put.
Abbas a hugely influential member of Salah's camp
The third major figure is Abbas, Salah's representative. While Liverpool were England's biggest spenders on agents' fees last season (nearly 50m euros), Madrid are rather more reluctant in that regard. The big-money commission that Mino Raiola would have charged to broker the signing of Paul Pogba was one of the reasons why Los Blancos pulled out of a move for the midfielder in 2016. Abbas - who also negotiates Salah's image rights, masterminding his client's growth into an advertising icon by procuring him deals with Vodafone, Uber and Pepsi - is the player's most trusted adviser. The Colombian's opinion will be key when it comes to deciding whether or not he seeks a new challenge next season.