Liverpool’s Egyptian star Mo Salah could be the latest ‘Galactico’ to join Real Madrid’s legion of stars under Zinedine Zidane, according to former Manchester United veteran and football pundit Gary Neville.
Salah has been the focal point of Liverpool’s resurgence as a major European force under Jurgen Klopp. His career in red has seen him claim an extraordinary 90 goals in just 140 appearances across all competitions in less than three seasons at Anfield, a goal-scoring tally which has seen him become one of the hottest properties in world football.
Now it seems the Egyptian star could be a big-money transfer target for Real Madrid. Los Blancos emptied their coffers last summer to secure the services of Chelsea talisman Eden Hazard, though the Belgian’s impact has been restricted by injury, with an ankle problem set to keep him out of action until next season.
The rumoured summer departure of Gareth Bale will leave space in the Real Madrid ranks for another ‘Galactico,’ and former United star and Sky Sports pundit Neville says Salah may well be the man to fill that space in Real’s lineup.
“I said 18 months ago I thought Mo Salah would leave Liverpool,” said Neville this week.
“I think it’s a little bit more simple in the sense of why Liverpool fans maybe don’t demonstrate that love for Salah, and it’s affinity and loyalty.
“I think there’s a feeling that he wants to go and play at Real Madrid, he’ll go to Barcelona, he’ll take the big move.
“That’s not a criticism of Mo Salah. I played with David Beckham, I played with Ruud van Nistelrooy, played with Cristiano Ronaldo, they wanted to aspire to win the Ballon d’Or, they wanted to be at Real Madrid, they wanted to be up in lights and play at the biggest clubs in the world.”
Real are currently two points behind perennial rivals Barcelona in the race for La Liga gold this season, but after staring down the barrel of a home defeat to Manchester City in Wednesday’s Champions League action, Zidane’s side is facing the possibility of a season without major silverware.
The club’s president Florentino Perez has never been shy to open the club’s chequebook to attract Europe’s top talent, and a report from Spanish periodical El Desmarque suggests that the club has been holding internal discussions about the possibility of a summer move for Liverpool star Salah.
Any move, per the report, would cost at least £126 million ($162 million), but as hefty as that price tag sounds, it pales in comparison to the presumed £250 million ($321 million) thought necessary to prize French starlet Kylian Mbappe – another rumoured Real target – from Paris Saint-Germain.