Arne Slot's first Liverpool act could bank €32m but would be met with fan backlash

Arne Slot. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP) (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images)Arne Slot. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP) (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images)
Arne Slot. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP) (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images)
Alisson Becker is reportedly a transfer target for Saudi Arabia heading into the summer transfer window.

If anyone believes hat the Saudis are done and dusted in an attempt to prise away Premier League talents, a rethink is required.

Cristiano Ronaldo was the first coup for the Gulf state. Then followed the likes of Karim Benzema and N’golo Kante while Liverpool had three players poached.

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In fairness, it was Robert Firmino’s prerogative to leave Anfield at the end of his deal. No-one could begrudge him turning down a new contract after eight years of loyal service, helping Jurgen Klopp’s side win six major trophies.

But it was a surprise when Jordan Henderson and Fabinho made movees Saudi Pro League. And the interest didn’t stop there. Their bid of up to £150 million for Mo Salah was bravely rebuffed by Liverpool and owners Fenway Sport Group. Thiago Alcantara too reportedly snubbed the chance to depart. Joe Gomez was another said to be coveted.

With the summer transfer window around the corner, it will be no surprise if the mega-rich Arab nation aim to sign some of Liverpool’s stars again. Salah is the obvious one with a year left on his Anfield contract. And although the 2023-24 season is still to be finished, Alisson Becker has been linked in recent days.

According to the Telegraph, the goalkeeper is on the Saudis’ shopping list along with Manchester City counterpart Ederson. Given what happened last summer, with a bid of £40 million being lodged for Fabinho, it would not be a shock if an offer was made to Alisson. Nothing should do anymore. The Saudis want the world’s best talent to try to develop their league. They would be going after arguably the best player in his position.

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Since being recruited for £66.8 million from AS Roma in 2018, Liverpool have had a magnificent stopper between the posts. Had Alisson not been signed, Jurgen Klopp’s side might not have won seven major trophies. It was no coincidence that in his first two years at Anfield, the Champions League and Premier League were yielded. In 262 appearances, there have been 111 clean sheets and that goal against West Brom.

But if Liverpool did get an offer on the table, they may have to seriously consider it. Alisson, who has three years remaining on his current contract, turns 32 in October. That’s still a good age for a goalkeeper, with several years at the top remaining. But the Reds will need a successor eventually, which will be hard to come by while Alisson has had injury issues this term. He has missed a total of 16 matches, including a two-month absence because of a hamstring problem.

In truth, Liverpool might not unearth better option than Caoimhin Kelleher without paying a large fee. Klopp has called the Republic of Ireland international the best No.2 in the world previously. But that is a moniker that Kelleher will not want to keep. It is a backhanded compliment and Kelleher desires regular football. This season will have only sated his appetite having played 26 times in all competitions and has impressed. Now aged 25, he should feel his role of deputy is over.

Alisson remains a superior keeper to Kelleher. He may always be. But Liverpool might not ever get someone the standard of Alisson again. Ray Clemence is the only member of the Goalkeepers’ Union who may rank higher in Anfield history.

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Per Transfermrkt, Alisson is valued at around €32 million. If an offer were to land at the Anfield boardroom, incoming manager Arne Slot and soon-to-be sporting director would have to consider it.

If it was deemed acceptable, there would undoubtedly be backlash from sections of supporters. Yet that is the impact Saudi Arabia - the new disruptors of the transfer market - have had.

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