Liverpool ‘s reported transfer bid for Juventus star Federico Chiesa raises questions over the future of wingers Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
Chiesa helped Italy to triumph at Euro 2020 this summer, scoring twice and featuring in all seven matches after a promising first season in Turin.
Halfway through a two-year loan from Fiorentina, the son of former Sampdoria and Parma striker Enrico has been the subject of interest from Europe’s elite this transfer window.
The 23-year-old was described as ‘untouchable’ by Italian transfer guru Fabrizio Romano amid strong interest from Chelsea and Bayern Munich after tearing up the European Championships.
That seemingly hasn’t stopped the Reds from trying their luck, though, with La Republicca claiming via Football Italia that Jurgen Klopp’s side launched an audacious €100m (£85.6m) offer for the right-footed winger – which was rejected.
Juve have a €40 million (£34.2m) obligation to buy at the end of the new season, hoping to reclaim the Serie A title after losing their nine-year grip at the hands of Inter Milan.
Chiesa’s first term as a Bianconeri player was productive, scoring nine goals and assisting the same amount in the Italian top-flight.
That matches Mane’s return of 18 direct goal contributions in the Premier League, both boasting 31 starts.
Although Salah is near-irreplaceable at Anfield, the Azzurri starlet profiles much more like the Egyptian.
Often seen cutting in from the right for his national team, Chiesa enjoys taking up central areas and featured as a centre-forward at times for Fiorentina.
Andrea Pirlo deployed him of the left flank in a 4-4-2 at the Allianz Stadium which hindered his attacking output.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a Liverpool fan who wants to get rid of 29-year-old Salah, but there was speculation that the former Roma man could leave this summer if the price was right, with his current contract expiring in 2022.
Many believe that the Reds’ ageing attack – Mane and Roberto Firmino are also both 29 – will need to be refreshed in the upcoming transfer windows, and it appears Klopp and sporting director Michael Edwards are already working on the reshaping.
If the Anfield side are indeed keen on Chiesa, it would surely mean another forward departing, with Diogo Jota already on the fringes of being a regular starter.
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has previously alluded to Salah moving on, saying in January: “Mo Salah is definitely one of those players who would look at his career and maybe want Barcelona or Real Madrid on his CV.
Should Liverpool cash in on Salah to sign someone like Chiesa? Comment your thoughts below.
“Some players look at their career like that. I think Eden Hazard always wanted to go to Real Madrid at some stage,” Carragher noted.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if a few years ago, when Mo Salah was mapping his career out, that is something he would like to have done.”
The Egypt goal machine has previously discussed in interviews that he may want a new challenge.
However, the ex-Reds defender wasn’t concerned of an imminent move at the time.
“I think the situation now – financially and his age – means clubs don’t have that kind of money for him,” Carragher added.
“You are talking in excess of £100million and I think Real Madrid and Barcelona would be looking at Mbappe or Haaland or even Mane ahead of Salah now because of his age.
“Those two clubs are not flush with money and his contract still has some time to run at Liverpool.
“So I’m not fearful as a Liverpool fan that he is going to leave any time soon.”
But if Liverpool’s reported interest in Chiesa is true, then it would appear to indicate some level of concern that Salah or Mane could depart.
If contingency plans are in place to find a replacement, then it could well be a transfer story to develop over the coming weeks.
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