Liverpool: Is it time for Salah to leave?
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Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has claimed that he is not interested in the transfer speculation surrounding Mohamed Salah after the Liverpool winger reaffirmed his desire to join a La Liga club before the end of his career last week. The two clubs are preparing to do battle for a place in the last four of the Champions League with a two-legged quarter-final meeting on the horizon.
Salah has been leading the attacking charge for Liverpool this season with 26 goals and four assists in all competitions, and is likely to be handed a starting berth against Los Blancos at the Bernabeu for Tuesday evening’s first-leg clash.
However, his immediate future has been shrouded with uncertainty since December amid continued links with an impending switch to Real or Barcelona.
He admitted in an interview with AS that he sees the El Clasico pair as ‘top clubs’ and suggested that he would like to play for one of them before calling time on his professional career.
The speculation was reignited last month when Salah told Marca that he remains open to a move and refused to pledge his services to Liverpool.
He has established himself as one of the finest wingers in world football since joining the Merseyside club in 2017 and would undoubtedly be a huge loss to Jurgen Klopp’s side.
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At the same time, his presence out wide would boost Real’s attack alongside the likes of Isco and Karim Benzema, potentially adding the cutting edge needed for Real to fight for a first Champions League title since 2018.
Despite this, Zidane has refused to comment on the Egyptian forward’s situation, stressing that his sole focus lies with overcoming the challenge of Liverpool over two legs.
“Since he’s not our player, I’m not going to get into that,” the Frenchman told a press conference on Monday.
“Salah’s not our player either, all I’m interested in is tomorrow.”
Salah has played 193 times for Liverpool during his stay on Merseyside, chipping in with 120 goals and 45 assists in the process.
His influence was a significant factor in helping the Reds to achieve Champions League glory for the sixth time in 2019, before stepping up to the plate once again as Klopp’s side won their first Premier League title for 30 years last season.
It has been claimed that his relationship with the German boss may have deteriorated in recent months, with the winger visibly frustrated after he was substituted during the home defeat to Chelsea a month ago.
Salah has previously stressed that his future lies with the decision-makers at Liverpool, but club legend Robbie Fowler has suggested that he will be allowed to leave if he decides to pursue a move away.
“If the player is agitating for a move, let him go,” Fowler wrote in his Sunday Mirror column last month.
“I’m not having a go at Salah. I love him to bits. But I truly believe that transfers now are largely about what players want, so the ball is in his court, not Liverpool’s.
“If he wants to go, then he should go. If a player wants to leave, we have to accept it’s in the mix.
“I’m a firm believer that if they are unhappy and want to be going, then they should be going.
“Jurgen Klopp has said the same, too – he doesn’t want anyone at the club who doesn’t want to be there.”
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