Mohammad Salah’ signing at Liverpool for £36.9M, is a pretty big deal. For many reasons.
First, Salah is the most expensive African player in football history.
While switching from Rome to Liverpool, he surpassed new fellow teammate, Senegalese Sadio Mané (£35M), Manchester United’s Ivorian Eric Bailly (£30M), Leicester City’s Algerian Islam Slimani (£29.5M) and Manchester City former Ivorian Wilfried Bony (£28M).
Second, Salah is also the most expensive Arab footballer in the game’s history.
And for all those asking: “Isn’t Zinedine Zidane the most expensive Arab footballer?”, Well, you can say so, ethnically, but Zidane was never representing an Arab country and wasn’t born in an Arab country. Neither Benzema answers those two categories. Not Mahrez and not Brahimi. Only Slimani is, and Salah, as already mentioned, has just past him. In addition, Salah is an Arabic symbol and a hero. He grew up in the small village of Baysoun, shined at the Mokawelloun Al-Arab (Arab Contractors) and never played for Al-Ahly or Zamalek, Egypt’s two mega clubs. He criticized the government after Port Said disaster; While playing in Fiorentina he wore no. 74 as respect for the victims of Al-Ahly fans; He criticized Israel, scored against Maccabi Tel Aviv and showed support for Palestine. Salah is a hero for Arabs across the world, both for his contribution on the pitch, and his socio-political perception and agenda. He is admired for being an Arab, from an Arab country that represent his people on the international stage. And for the record - Zidane's roots are in Kabliye, which is more Berber descent than Arab.
Third, Salah is the apparently the second most expensive player Liverpool FC ever paid for. According to the reliable Transfermarkt, Christian Benteke is currently in first. Andy Carroll is regarded as the most expensive one by other sources, so together with the fall of the British pound that probably changed this table around - Salah is between 1st to 3rd. In any case - if he will score and play enough – an extra £8M will make their way to Rome and he will be officially the most expensive footballer in Liverpool Football Club history.
If that’s not enough, Salah have set a record for a departure transfer of the Giallorossi, and became the highest sold asset of AS Roma club’s history. Names like Miralem Pjanic, Marquinhos, Erik Lamela, Mehdi Benatia and Emerson, were all left behind. Bigtime.
But it’s not all about Salah's goals, but his market value that makes this transfer the real deal. It works in a two way around, as Liverpool earned an entrance to a massive market of around 60 million Egyptians, and this is, in the internet era, a super valuable thing. Just ask Stoke City, what happened to their social media accounts after the young Egyptian starlet, Ramadan Sobhi, signed last year from Al-Ahly. They needed to open a new account – in Arabic. A quick look to Liverpool’s followers’ column on Twitter will rest the case. Thousands of Egyptians are already there, and we are less than 24 hours after the official announcement. What will happen when he will start scoring?
Salah, has around 2.4 million followers on Twitter. That’s a lot, and that’s a third from what Liverpool has, but it’s only the Twitter. No Facebook yet or Instagram.
Liverpool will not only enjoying Salah actions on the pitch, but also in the net, the Social Medias and the ever growing merchandising market of football, with tenths of millions of new potential fans (or should I write - costumers) from all over the Arab world in their disposal
See, the matching between Salah and Liverpool is, on paper, a win-win Arab-Scouser wedding for both sides. Or as we like to call it these days: It’s a pretty big deal.