Liverpool’s ideal Salah heir snubbed Klopp as a teenager

Tom Weber

  • Updated: 5 Feb 2024 19:06 GMT
  • 8 min read
Mo Salah, Liverpool, 2023/24

Leon Bailey looks set to sign a new Aston Villa contract, but Liverpool would do well to reignite their almost decade-old interest in the in-form winger.

The Jamaican has been on fire for Unai Emery’s Villans this term, notching an impressive 10 goals and nine assists in 31 appearances so far. Due to his importance to the side, Villa will reward the 26-year-old with a bumper new deal, according to Fabrizio Romano.

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At the weekend, Bailey again showed his brilliance, running at a helpless Sheffield United defence before cutting in on his strong left foot and mercilessly putting the ball in the back of the net. It was a goal reminiscent of none other than Mohamed Salah.

Bailey has already bettered – by far – his output of last season and the winger is thriving under Emery, finally consistently living up to the potential he showed as a youngster, when he was considered such a wonderkid that England fans begged the FA to find a way to get him to become eligible for the Three Lions despite being Jamaican through and through.

Leon Bailey
© IMAGO – Leon Bailey

Salah replacement?

Indeed, it was back in his youth when Bailey first caught the attention of England’s elite. The talented attacker joined Bayer Leverkusen in January 2017, later revealing that he snubbed England’s biggest hitters to sign for the Bundesliga side.

Manchester United, City, Chelsea, Liverpool – a lot of clubs were interested,” he told FourFourTwo. “But the most important thing as a pro is taking things a step at a time and not rushing to the top too quickly. Because once you get there, where do you go next? I believe the right timing is important, and it was the right moment to be at Bayer Leverkusen.”

Seven years on, Liverpool would do well to reignite their interest in the electric winger. Speculation about Mohamed Salah’s future has abounded since last summer when Saudi champions Al-Ittihad came ringing with eye-watering sums of money. Though Liverpool stood their ground, the interest in the Egyptian remains.

In the next transfer window, Al-Hilal will reportedly attempt to sign the 31-year-old. While still an eminently important player, the Anfield club would be foolish not to cash in on the veteran should similar sums to the alleged €150 million that was on the table previously be offered again.

In fact, the announcement of Jurgen Klopp’s departure at the end of the season has cast fresh doubt on Salah’s future and the Reds have been eyeing potential replacements. Bailey, though he would be expensive given his fresh deal, should certainly be under consideration.

Mohamed Salah

2023/2024 | Premier League (ENG)

Right wing (1837 Minutes played)

99% WidePlaymakerClassicWingerInsideForward

Leon Bailey

2023/2024 | Premier League (ENG)

Right wing (994 Minutes played)

99% WidePlaymakerClassicWingerInsideForward

There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that the right coach can get the best out of the Jamaican and can get him to perform consistently, something which previously hamstrung a player whose talent has never been in doubt.

At 26 years of age, Bailey is at the peak of his powers and boasts a potent mix of still having time on his side while also already having more than enough top-level experience. Though not a like-for-like replacement for the Egyptian King given that Bailey is more of a classic winger, the Villa man could easily be Salah’s heir for the next five to six years.

Source From: Football Transfer News Archive including Premier League & La Liga

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