Roma owner: Salah wanted to leave, Liverpool got “unbelievable bargain”
Roma owner James Pallotta believes Liverpool got an “unbelievable bargain” when they signed Mohamed Salah, adding he has been surprised by his form this season.
The Egypt international moved from AS Roma to Liverpool last summer for a fee around £34.3m, and has been phenomenal for the English side since then, scoring 41 goals in 46 games.
Mohamed Salah will face his former side AS Roma, when Liverpool host the Italian club at Anfield on Tuesday, April 24, before travelling to the Stadio Olimpico for the second leg.
And Roma owner James Pallotta admitted that Salah’s price tag last summer proved to be a bargain, revealing that the Egyptian wanted to go back to the Premier League.
“When you look at it now, you can say it’s an unbelievable bargain,” Pallotta told ESPN.
“The issue at the time was that when [director of football] Monchi came in, Salah wanted to leave, he had a year left on his contract so in another year you’d get nothing.
“He wanted to go back [to the Premier League] and prove himself, which he certainly has done.
“We can’t tell you that anybody else was calling for Salah at anywhere near that kind of price, so there’s a lot of teams that have missed out on the great play he’s had this year,” he added.
Salah has been crowned the Professional Footballers’ Association player of the year for the 2017-18 season, and is currently leading the Golden Boot race with 31 goals.
When asked if he has been surprised by Salah’s goalscoring record, he said: “Honestly, yes. And the reason is probably because look, we utilized him differently than Liverpool have.
“They figured out the best way to utilize him. At the time, we had him as a winger and you got (Edin) Dzeko in the middle and Dzeko’s scoring 36 goals himself last year, so it’s not like we didn’t have someone in there tearing up the league last year.
“Where I’m surprised, is how great he’s finishing. I mean I think he would say that in Rome, while he had a bunch of goals, his frustration was not finishing the same way and now you get the ball near his feet and it just seems like he’s figured a way to put it in the net.
“Do they have bigger nets in the Premier League? It’s just been amazing watching him and every time he scores I’m like, “Oh dear God!.”
The American businessman concluded by saying that Salah is close to his club and is hoping that the Roma fans give him an ovation when he returns to Stadio Olimpico.
“He [Salah] is close to a lot of our players and I know that our digital team had tweeted out right off the bat about those 180 minutes will be a war but Salah will be a friend for life and he responded right back,” Pallotta said.
“So there’s a good relationship there. I hope that he gets a great ovation when he comes back to Rome, I can’t see any reason why the fans wouldn’t really give him a great ovation, at least at the beginning of the game,” he concluded.
Full credits go to ESPN.com for the original interview.
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