West Ham star Michail Antonio claims that Mohamed Salah was ‘ready to go’ this summer.
The Liverpool legend was the subject of intense interest from Saudi giants Al-Ittihad who were trying to make the Egyptian the Pro League’s record signing. The Jeddah club were reportedly ready to put as much as €150 million to €200m on the table for the Premier League and Champions League winner, which would have blown the previous record – Neymar to Al-Hilal for €90m – completely out of the water.
Faced with losing their talismanic goalscorer and with no ability to actually sign a replacement seeing as though the English window had long since shut by that point, the Reds stood firm and rebuffed any and all approaches.
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Many have questioned this decision seeing as though Liverpool could have received a truly astronomical sum for a 31-year-old and West Ham striker Michail Antonio is the latest football personality to have given his two cents on the matter, claiming that Salah would have left had it not been for Liverpool ‘locking him up.’
What did Antonio say?
Speaking on the BBC’s The Footballer’s Football Podcast, Antonio said: He didn’t turn that [offer] down, no way. He was locked up and the Reds had put that red arrow across: ‘You are not going anywhere’. He did not stop that at all.”
“To be fair to him,” the Jamaica international continued, “he didn’t kick up a fuss and let them do what they were doing. But I know for a fact that he was ready to go.”
“What else can he do at Liverpool? He’s done it. It’s a great opportunity for him, he is a Muslim man and it had everything screaming out for him. There was no actual negative for the man to not go. I understand he has a contract, which he has fulfilled.”
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“So he wins another [Premier League title], do you know what that just means? He has won another. It doesn’t add much to anything else. He has done everything he could possibly do at Liverpool.”
“I am saying to you right now, a Muslim man going to a Muslim country, £215m to Liverpool for a 31-year-old – I just find it completely crazy they’ve not accepted that. My question to you is this: what do you think Liverpool are playing for this year? Even if you couldn’t replace the man, let’s call this season a write-off.”