Duncan Oldham: Mo Salah and the Egyptian Plan

Ramy Abbas

I’d be very, very surprised if Mo Salah doesn’t make the switch to Spain. It’s just a case of ‘when’ and not ‘if’, as far as I’m concerned. Those of you who follow my videos and my podcast and who interact with me on the VIP members’ website, know that for a long time I have talked about the ‘Egyptian Plan’.

Mo has always wanted to test himself at Real Madrid and his agent Ramy Abbas (above left) has maintained communication with the people who might be able to make that work.

In Egypt there are many influential and powerful people that want to see Salah complete a move to Real Madrid. Government officials, big sponsors and big businesses, along with the top brass at the Egyptian Football Association, all want to see Salah at the Bernabéu. There would be huge pressure piled on him to make it happen if the opportunity every presented itself, but I think he’d take it without hesitation.

We have spoken many times about key figures in the game that have all talked up Salah to Real Madrid. A couple of years ago, former president of the Egyptian FA Hany Abo Rida had quite a bit to say about Salah and Real Madrid and one line stood out for me in particular was: “Obviously if an Egyptian plays for a club as popular around the world as Real Madrid, it’s going to be great for Egyptian football.”

Egypt’s former assistant manager Hany Ramzy has previously claimed that Salah confided in him that the Spanish giants had made him an offer to make the switch there while former Egypt boss Héctor Cúper was also quoted around the same time as saying he’d “been told in confidence” that Real Madrid were very interested in making something happen with Salah.

Former Tottenham and Egypt striker Mido has often commented on the likeliness of Salah moving to Spain again citing that such a move would be fantastic for Egyptian football. Hamdi Noah, Salah’s coach at El Mokawloon, also recently commented: “I want to see him in La Liga to play with Barcelona or Real Madrid because that what would make him win the Ballon d’Or” while former president of Zamalek Sporting Club, Mamdouh Abbas, a close friend of Salah, once claimed that Salah’s agent Ramy Abbas had confirmed to him that the player planned to use his time at Liverpool as a springboard to move on to La Liga. Those claims were subsequently denied by Abbas.

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville also commented this year that Salah was using Liverpool as a stepping stone in order to engineer a dream move to either Real Madrid or Barcelona, but few Liverpool fans will care what the former Manchester United defender thinks about Liverpool matters.

However, I think it’s safe to say that the Egyptians would like to see Salah in Spain at some point and preferably, at Real Madrid. Barcelona would be a good gig but Real Madrid is considered the ultimate destination to many in the player’s homeland.

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Over the last few days we’ve seen Salah refuse to rule out the possibility of a move to Spain while talking up the two Spanish clubs. That has obviously set the cat among the pidgeons. Then Salah’s friend, Egypt legend Mohamed Aboutrika, claimed that Salah wasn’t happy at Liverpool while adding that he could see the Liverpool ace making the switch to Spain. He also suggested that Liverpool were looking at cashing in.

Aboutrika said: “I called Salah about his situation at Liverpool and he is upset, but that would never affect his performance on the field.

“I know that Salah is not happy in Liverpool, he told me the reasons why he is not happy but they are secrets and I cannot talk about it in public. One of the reasons that made Salah angry was that he was not the captain against Midtjylland.

“If Salah was a player at Real Madrid or Barcelona, and playing at the same level as Liverpool, he would’ve won the Ballon d’Or, and it is normal for a Spanish newspaper to ask Salah about Real Madrid and Barcelona.

“In my opinion, Liverpool are considering selling Salah for economic purposes.

“I do not have any influence over Salah’s decisions, he is my friend and brother, and he is smart enough to know what is best for him.”

Many of us expect Liverpool’s front 3 to be broken up next summer. There have been many debates as to who Liverpool might sell to ensure they don’t miss out on a significant transfer fee. Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah are all at the right age for Liverpool to cash in and the latest suggestions point to Salah being the one that Liverpool may let go if Real Madrid or Barcelona can meet Liverpool’s valuation. Liverpool will no doubt insist that he’s not for sale and will subsequently try it on with the asking price. However, due to uncertainties in the game at the moment due to the Coronavirus, I can’t but help think that the knock-on effects from that could hamper things in terms of what clubs would be willing to pay for Salah.

Mark my words, the usual media-shy Salah knew what he was doing when he granted Spanish publication AS a sit down interview in front of a camera in Liverpool in the middle of a pandemic. This was clearly cleverly orchestrated by Salah and Ramy Abbas. This was part of the Egyptian Plan and there’s nothing wrong with that if the lad has aspirations of fulfilling a dream move as part of his career. The local media keep banging on about what he can win at Liverpool opposed to the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona but it’s not all about silverware and money. Some players have genuine ambitions to represent some of Europe’s elite clubs so they can tell their grandkids that they ‘did it’. Any player that can boast playing for Liverpool or Real Madrid is something special, but imagine a player being able to say he played for both!

A friend of Gini Wijnaldum told me recently that the Reds midfielder had felt like he’d won it all at Liverpool and that’s why he felt a move to Barcelona would be perfect for him now, especially at his age too. It’s a similar situation to Salah’s really. They’ve played for one of Europe’s greatest clubs, if not *THE* greatest, and now fancy a chance at another. It’s not hard to understand.

Will he leave this summer? Who knows? I’m no Twitter ITK(!) I think he’s sent a message to the fans and the media that are close to Real Madrid (and Barcelona as the fallback option). This can help with keeping the idea alive and up for debate while at the same time it keeps those clubs under pressure to try and make something happen. He doesn’t need to send a message directly to the clubs themselves as Abbas has been taking care of that for the last couple of years.

I don’t think many Liverpool fans would begrudge Salah a dream move towards the end of his career, I know I won’t. All I would ask, is that he conducts himself professionally and doesn’t try and mug the club off like others have before him.

I’ve not heard of any problems internally at the club and the manager himself said at the weekend that he had no problem with the interview given to AS.

Personally, I’m of the opinion that this is the start of his exit. It’d be nice if we got another season out of him but what we have to bear in mind is that his valuation will decrease and his chances of getting a move to Spain will decrease too. It’s probably now or never. If they don’t come in for him though or they fail to match the asking price, we could even end up seeing him inking an extension. Never say never in football.

The purpose of my editorial was to remind you about the Egyptian Plan that I have talked about many times. I think it’s now coming into play, and to be honest with you, it’s a plan that could also actually suit Liverpool and not just the Egyptians.


Duncan Oldham
KopTalk Editor