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What happened to the three forwards who snubbed Liverpool before Mohamed Salah transfer



What happened to the three forwards who snubbed Liverpool before Mohamed Salah transfer

Liverpool tired and failed to sign three different forwards before eventually settling on Mohamed Salah in the summer of 2017

“No, not from us, not from the Liverpool supporters. Maybe from you.”

Mohamed Salah is an undisputed Liverpool legend. Joining from AS Roma for an initial £36.9m in the summer of 2017, he has won every major honour on offer to him at Anfield and, with 186 goals in six years, is fifth in the club’s all-time leading goalscorers charts.

Breaking records almost on a weekly basis, it feels, Jurgen Klopp has regularly been asked about the Egyptian in recent weeks as the forward hit yet another 30-goal season. One of the regular questions that has been faced is variations of one querying whether Salah is underrated, overlooked, or even taken for granted, such is the frightening consistency behind both his goal contributions and availability over the past six seasons.

For the record, Klopp wasn’t having any of it as he insisted the Egyptian will go down as one of the all-time greats.

No, not from us, not from the Liverpool supporters, maybe from you,” Klopp told reporters. “This question is now not the first time that I hear it. Not from us.

“I’ve said it a lot of times, he will be an all-time great when he finishes his career but now he is still in his career. If you see Mo every day, there’s still a really good few years in his legs and in his body and the numbers will improve. That’s absolutely great.

“No, we don’t overlook it but when the question is asked that often you might be guilty to overlook it.”

Given Salah’s astonishing success at Anfield, establishing himself as one of the very best players in the world, it’s easy to forget he wasn’t Liverpool’s first-choice attacking target in the summer of 2017. After a year trying to strengthen the Reds’ front-line, he wasn’t even in their top three.

While he had his admirers in the Liverpool recruitment team, who had previously tried and failed to sign him in January 2014, Klopp still needed persuading that the Egyptian was the man for the Reds. In the meantime, they looked at a number of different wide-forwards before eventually moving for Salah.

Following the forward’s Anfield arrival, The Times reported that: “Ramy Abbas Issa, who had replaced the agents who had negotiated Salah’s move to Chelsea, smoothed his client’s move to Merseyside, but 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.

“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.”

It goes without saying that Liverpool will have no regrets, with Salah by far the most successful player out of the quartet. But what happened to the three players the Reds tried to sign instead?

1969/70 season.

And then there’s the trophies. Champions League, European Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, Premier League, League Cup, FA Cup, Community Shield. Plus an endless, ever-growing list of individual records and accolades.

We’ll never know how any of Pulisic, Draxler or Brandt would have fared in place of the forward, but ultimately their loss was Salah’s gain.

Liverpool won’t question how they ended up with the forward in their attack. All they know, looking back, is that the Egyptian King has proven to be the perfect fit at Anfield.

Overlooked elsewhere, perhaps. But when Salah’s Liverpool career eventually comes to an end, he will be remembered as one of the Reds’ greatest ever players.

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