Jason McAteer 2 BSI

Jason McAteer: Mo Salah Move To Saudi Arabia Likely

The Mo Salah to Saudi Arabia rumours continue to swirl and one former star at Anfield thinks that a move to the middle east is most likely.

Saudi Arabia have taken some of the world’s top names and talents in recent years away from Europe. It all started of course with Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival to the Saudi League after this Man United departure.

This summer has seen a shift in the football landscape with players such as Karim Benzema, Sadio Mane and Ruben Neves all leaving Europe for the riches of the Saudi league.

Here at BoyleSports we got the chance to sit down with Jason McAteer who believes that a Mo Salah departure to Saudi Arabia is now more likely to happen than not.

McAteer also gave us his thoughts on some of the other big stories around Anfield including Liverpool’s strong start to the season, predictions for the campaign ahead, the race to become next Liverpool boss and whether backup Irish goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher should stay or go.

Liverpool Will Sell Salah For The Right Price

Everyone’s been caught by surprise. I think they’ve seen it coming but I don’t think they realised how aggressive the Saudi League was going to be.

They’ve been left to their own devices. And all of a sudden everyone’s just sat up and thought, “this is the real deal”. It’s got more sustainable than what China had when they tried to do it. There’s a lot of money been thrown around. They’re making massive statements in the world of football.

And it’s all come very, very quickly. And in that sense, I don’t think anyone’s sat down and quite realised that they’ve still got five or six days longer than the Premier League and all the European leagues to delve into the market. So it’s left everyone worried.

Now the event is here because they can still take whatever they want. I’ve read all the papers, and as much as Jurgen Klopp wants to bang the door and say he’s not for sale, everything’s got a price in life.

If they come knocking with 200-250 million, the owners, I just don’t think they can turn that kind of money down for a 31 year old who is in the last two years of his contract.

My personal take on it is Liverpool want to get back in the Champions League. It probably makes you £120million to get into the Champions League.

You’ve got to play that off against losing Mo Salah, do they qualify for the Champions League? They could take £100 million for Mo Salah now and miss out on £120 million. I think what Liverpool want to do is kind of capitalise on both. So where can they get the value where we are selling for £200 million.

We could invest some of that in the winter window and still qualify for the Champions League and make £120m. So we could end up making £200m a year where they could end up making nothing if they sell Salah for £100m and don’t qualify for the Champions League. It just cancels each other out.

I do think there’s a figure. I watched the game yesterday and Mo Salah’s celebration tells me something’s not quite right here. There’s definitely talks to be had in the next four or five days. And if you’re asking me now straight up, do I think he’ll go?

I think it’s 60-40 he’s going to go.

His agent has been very quiet. Usually you’re looking for a statement from him on his player’s behalf. He’s the poster boy for the Arabic world, a real superstar. He’s going into a league that is going to pay him reportedly £2million a week. Can you knock him for wanting to go?

Obviously not for Liverpool. They have to do their own business. It has to be right for Liverpool. So in that sense, the transfer of money has to be right. I’m looking £200m upwards.

The only thing that worries me is the Saudis have got it. They’ve got it in the ashtray of the car if they want it.

It’s Monopoly money. It’s one of the four clubs that are owned by the Saudi government over there. The pot is endless. And it really, really worries me.

Whether they come to some agreement they can have him when the next window opens. That might be on the cards, but I just can’t see Mo Salah not going now, at some point. I just can’t see it.

McAteer On Liverpool’s Strong Start To The Season

Obviously everyone was looking at them to see if they’ve improved.

Dominik Szoboszlai looks like a tremendous buy, Mac Allister is very versatile and looks a really good buy as well. It’s a new midfield, it takes a little bit of time to get up to speed but I think if you look on the whole I think it’s one defeat in the last 15 games going back to the tail end of last season.

I looked at the fixtures when they came out and I was a little bit sceptical because we didn’t quite know what we were going to get.

Liverpool could have been out of it in the first 10 games, the quality that they were going to come up against. Villa recruited well, you’ve got the Derby, Tottenham, Chelsea and City are in there as well. If Liverpool lose those games, that’s the title race.

But we sit here now, only two points dropped and in third in the league. The defensive worries that they showed through pre-season, they’ve only conceded three goals this season. So you’d have to say Liverpool are in a decent position and growing in confidence and stature.

‘I expect Liverpool to push Man City all the way’

Liverpool will always be aiming for the Premier League title no matter what the situation. This season they are fresh, lots of new faces around the camp. I was a little bit worried when James Milner went and then unexpectedly Jordan Henderson.

That’s a lot of leadership lost from the dressing room, a lot of knowledge of how to do it, how to win, how to manage the game. It takes a lot to get to a point where you’re not just winning football matches but you’re managing football matches from a winning position. You’re winning games from losing positions.

They had everything right and a lot of that knowledge has gone. It’s been a rebuild. That midfield, that’s a whole new midfield. Effectively the front six is new apart from Mo Salah, so you’ve got to give them credit. But we’ve got a manager who built something when he came in, he knows how to build, knows how to get it right. We need to trust him and let him go again. Big expectations, big optimism.

Xabi Alonso Ahead Of Gerrard In Race To Be Next Liverpool Boss?

A lot of life is timing, being in the right place at the right time. People say to me ‘Oh Steven Gerrard next Liverpool manager’. Not necessarily – if the stars don’t align with his managerial career and Jurgen Klopp wants to leave, it’s not going to happen.

If you’re asking me right now Xabi Alonso is ahead of Steven because of just the way things are happening.

Kelleher Should Force Liverpool Exit

I’ve been around him for quite a long time, being involved in the club. I know him, I know his attitude, I know what he’s like, his personality. He’s very level-headed, not big time at all. He is a fantastic talent.

He’s played his part. He was the hero in the League Cup final, he’s had some great moments with the club. But for me football is about playing football.

You don’t want to go through your career where you’ve sat on a bench and get to the later stages of your career wanting the opportunity to go and play. His time is now.

He is sitting behind arguably the best keeper in the world. So in all honesty, he’s not going to play. He’s going to nick the old game in the League Cup, maybe the Europa League, but that’s not enough football.

The other thing as well, it’s harming and detrimental towards his international career. He’s missing out. He’s going to look back in years to come and go ‘I’ve missed out on these years’. His time is to go now, it’s time to move on. Whether they couldn’t get anyone in to replace him I don’t know, and for Liverpool, what a number two have.

But Caoimhin, he’s got to be selfish and think ‘it’s just not my time here to play’. He can move to another team in the Premier League, no problem. Playing week in week out, I’m sure he would nail down the first team position with Ireland.

At the minute you can’t knock Stephen Kenny for picking a player who plays week in week out. As much as Caoimhin is at one of the greatest clubs in the world and behind the best keeper in the world, he is still not playing football.

You don’t even play reserve team, you nick the odd game now and again. Sometimes you’re just not up to speed doing that so I can understand Stephen Kenny. Caoimhin, for me, he’s got to get out.

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