TRANSFER CONFIDENTIAL: Saudis head to London to push for £200m Salah

TRANSFER CONFIDENTIAL: Saudis head to London to push for £200m Mohamed Salah, Erik ten Hag to hold showdown talks with Jadon Sancho after public spat and West Ham to offer Jesse Lingard short-term deal

  • Al-Ittihad have no intention of abandoning their pursuit of Liverpool star Salah 
  • Ten Hag criticised Sancho’s performance in training after defeat at Arsenal 
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A Saudi Arabian delegation arrived in London on Saturday as they make one last push to persuade Liverpool to sell Mohamed Salah this week.

The public message from Anfield and Jurgen Klopp, in particular, has been loud and clear that the Egyptian is not for sale and is happy at Liverpool.

An offer around £150million was dismissed last Thursday night and his performance against Aston Villa on Sunday underlined the player’s commitment to the cause. 

As Klopp underlined: ‘I never had any doubt about his commitment. He is our player and wants to play here.’

However, the Saudis will push their offer towards £200million over the next 48 hours in the belief Salah would be open to joining Al-Ittihad. 

Their deadline closes on Thursday and some within the Saudi camp say they may draw a line and switch targets if there is no semblance of joy by Tuesday. But others insist they will push to the end.

A Saudi Arabian delegation is in London as Al-Ittihad prepare one final push for Liverpool star Mohamed Salah before their league’s transfer window closes on Thursday

Jurgen Klopp has insisted that Salah won’t be sold as Al-ittihad test Liverpool’s resolve

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There was a very real prospect that Salah’s old adversary Sergio Ramos would be at Al Ittihad also but the Spain veteran is poised to join his former club Sevilla after turning up to sign today.

Meanwhile, new Liverpool signing from Bayern Munich Ryan Gravenberch has made himself unavailable for Holland U21s to focus on his new club. He could make his Liverpool debut at Wolves on September 16.

Lingard returns to Hammers

West Ham are expected to make a short-term contract offer to Jesse Lingard during the international break.

The former England international has been impressing staff at the club’s Rush Green training ground since he has returned though manager David Moyes wants to be sure about the player’s commitment before giving the deal the green light.

An incentivised deal until the end of the season with an option is considered to be the most likely course of action.

Moyes is keen to get an extra attacking player after deals for Corinthians’ Yuri Alberto and Hugo Ekitike of PSG faltered in the last throws of the window.

Jesse Lingard could be offered a short-term contract by West Ham in the coming days

Sancho set for Ten Hag talks  

Erik ten Hag is expected to hold clear the air talks with Jadon Sancho after his omission from the Manchester United squad at Arsenal on Sunday.

The United manager insisted the England winger had been left out because he failed to make a strong enough impression in training recently but Sancho has challenged that version of events.

Some close to the 23-year-old believe he hasn’t been getting a fair run at cementing a first team place, pointing out that Antony is sometimes given preferential treatment despite struggling for consistency himself. 

Erik ten Hag and Jadon Sancho are set for clear the air talks after the winger’s squad omission

United insiders dismiss this theory though with a belief the Dutch boss feels Sancho can still give more.

Defender Lisandro Martinez, meanwhile, is not feared to have picked up a significant injury despite coming off against Arsenal on Sunday. 

The combative Argentine did not need crutches or a protective boot as he left the stadium and is to undergo more tests once he joins up with the Argentina squad just to be sure he is okay to continue.

English agents to challenge FIFA 

Leading English football agents are preparing a legal challenge to the new regulations laid down by FIFA which are to be implemented from October 1.

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A Dortmund court has already ruled that any player agency from Germany is NOT bound to follow FIFA’s new laws on transfer business and the precedence has given their English counterparts grounds to pursue their own case.

FIFA want agents to be licensed, will cap the commission they earn on deals at three percent, prohibit multiple representation and put money into a central banking system.

The system, formally called the FIFA Football Agents Regulations, or FFAR, is now on hold in Germany due to the court ruling.

Fundamental to the court’s ruling is the fact FIFA is not authorised to regulate the agents’ profession as agents are not members of FIFA and there is no public law basis for FIFA’s regulation. Further, Gianni Infantino, the FIFA president, was threatened with arrest in Germany, should the regulations be enforced on any German.

‘The most important thing to understand is these new rules are illegal in Germany and I think any other free jurisdiction,’ one German agent told Confidential.

‘We have stated our case, now what are the likes of England going to do? FIFA has to realise it is not a nation it is just an organisation.

‘Agents are vital. Clubs are not doing this by themselves, finding talent. They don’t have the manpower, experience or resources everywhere. A lot of clubs need consultancy in negotiations and scouting.

FIFA’s new rules over agents are set to be challenged by English-based representatives

‘For example if this went through, African football could be finished. It wouldn’t be worth it any more to spot, develop and market players from there for the restricted payment at the end.’

Agents claim FIFA have also set up a ‘whistleblower operation’ so that rivals can tip off the organisation anonymously over who is breaching their rules.

Sports lawyer Chris Farnell of IPS Law said: ‘If you look at the current market prices, this is like an industry bigwig coming into a factory and telling the workers I know you earn £1,000 a week but now it has to be £500. And agents have every right to challenge that as any worker would.

‘There is an arbitration process but, it may be, at this late stage, that going to court is the most effective way to grab FIFA’s attention.

Prior to this FIFA said ”we don’t want to regulate”, now they are saying ”we do” but it is to a high level with a banking system and monetary control. That is going against competitive employment laws.’

Agents in Czech Republic are expected to follow suit but the English challenge – where the greatest revenue is made – will be the watershed moment.

Saudi clubs target Lloris 

Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is a target for further offers from the Saudi Pro League.

Lloris had interest from Newcastle United on deadline day and a late offer from Nice who had cancelled Kasper Schmeichel’s contract.

Hugo Lloris had interest on deadline day from Newcastle United and French club Nice

Coming at 9pm, the offer from France was too late for Lloris to consider thoroughly. Confidential understands the 36-year-old has a young family and could not take any decision to uproot lightly. 

He wants to mull over his next move properly and is aware of further interest coming from the Saudi League today with Tottenham happy for him to move on. 

Tottenham’s Tanguy Ndombele is still attracting interest from Galatasaray.

Schmeichel heads to Belgium 

Anderlecht are closing on the signature of Kasper Schmeichel after he became a free agent last week. 

The Dane had interest from Chelsea, Nottingham Forest and Brentford during the last weeks of the window but wanted to be No 1 or challenging at a big club. 

He is ready to agree a one year contract with the Belgian giants.

Kasper Schmeichel is expected to sign for Anderlecht after becoming a free agent last week

Nusa’s Chelsea deal collapsed 

Chelsea made a bid for Bruges young forward Antonio Nusa on deadline day. However, it is understood the deal hinged on Ian Maatsen departing. 

Burnley made an offer worth up to £31.5m for Holland U21 international Maatsen who had also drawn interest from West Ham and Nottingham Forest but ultimately, he opted to stay at Stamford Bridge. 

With no fee coming in for Maatsen, that meant Chelsea’s move for 18-year-old Norway striker Nusa was shelved. 

Nusa last season became the youngest player to score on a Champions League debut when he netted in a 4-0 away win at Porto. He has also been called up to Norway’s full international squad.

Chelsea’s attempts to sign Antonio Nusa from Club Brugge fell short on deadline day

Frith heading to Valencia  

Former Aston Villa defender Declan Frith has signed for Valencia in a surprise deal. 

Frith is a highly-talented left-back who can also fit in on the left wing but with competition fierce at Villa he mutually agreed with the club to cancel his contract at the end of last week and he has landed a prime move to Spain. 

Frith started out at non-league Welling United before being picked up by Chelsea.

Despite making a handful of appearances for their U23s he left in 2021 for Villa, however, that failed to work out and he has headed to the Mestalla.

Two potential exits at Fulham 

Monaco will revisit their move for Fulham’s Tosin Adarabioyo in January.

The centre-back saw an £11.5m move fall through as Fulham failed to find a replacement and hopes it can be finalised in January. 

Team-mate Joao Palhinha is also anticipating a fresh bid from Bayern Munich in January after his move fell though at the last for similar reasons. 

Bayern chief executive Jan Christian Dreesens said: ‘He was extremely sad on Friday. But as we say: most of the time, you see each other twice in life.’

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