·13 May 2023
·13 May 2023
Mohamed Salah has proven himself one of Liverpool’s all-time greats since he signed for the club from Roma back in 2017.
The Egyptian forward has won every trophy going over the course of his six years at Anfield and has arguably been the best player in Jurgen Klopp’s squad in that time. He’s scored 186 goals for the club and broken a number of records in the process.
But how might things look at Liverpool had they never signed Salah? He wasn’t the only forward that the club’s transfer committee were looking at. We’ve revisited the three other players Liverpool considered signing and seen how they’ve fared elsewhere.
The name most often cited, Brandt is widely believed to have been Klopp’s first-choice option to bolster his squad after qualifying for the Champions League in 2017.
“It’s a real advert for the job of the sporting director Michael Edwards,” The Athletic’s Bundesliga correspondent Raphael Honigstein explained on The Totally Football Show podcast.
“[He] had been getting a lot of criticism in Liverpool for some of the decisions that they’ve made over the last few years. This is one where Klopp has just stepped aside and said ‘I didn’t really want Salah, but he convinced me to take him’.
They were going for Julian Brandt, who is very talented but it’s inconceivable what the season would have looked like if it had been Brandt instead of Salah.
“Brandt has been okay, but hasn’t turned into one of the best strikers overnight, the way that Salah has.”
At the time, Brandt was a highly-rated 21-year-old first breaking through at Bayer Leverkusen. He ended up staying put at the BayArena until 2019, when he signed for Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund.
The winger has been on the periphery of the German national team in recent seasons and took time to get going in Westphalia. He’s been much-improved in 2022-23 and has played a key role in Dortmund’s title charge, recently starring with a trio of assists in a 6-0 win over Wolfsburg.
Still, as good as he’s been, Klopp and Liverpool can still sleep soundly knowing they made the right choice.
Brandt wasn’t the only other option Liverpool were considering that summer.
An American teenager by the name of Christian Pulisic was beginning to catch the eye at Dortmund, having scored three goals in his first full Bundesliga campaign.
Liverpool are yet to sign any players from Klopp’s former club Dortmund, with rumours of a gentleman’s agreement, but Pulisic was strongly linked.
A move never materialised in the end. Pulisic did eventually arrive in the Premier League – allowed to join Chelsea in 2019 despite their transfer ban, having been agreed before it came into effect – and has had his moments, not least as Thomas Tuchel’s Blues won the Champions League in 2021.
But Pulisic has struggled to nail down an undisputed starting spot at Chelsea and it’s been strongly rumoured he’ll depart the club this summer.
The USMNT international has registered 26 goals and 21 assists in 142 appearances for Chelsea but is yet to better his 11-goal tally from his debut 2019-20 season under Frank Lampard.
Bellingham this, Osimhen that. We’re old enough to remember when Draxler was the daily fixture of transfer gossip columns. We’re even old enough to remember the heady days of Leandro Damiao.
While establishing a reputation as one of Europe’s hottest prospects while at Schalke and Wolfsburg, Draxler was most frequently linked with Arsenal – but Liverpool were tipped to gazump Arsene Wenger’s Gunners as they were on their way to pipping them to a top-four finish.
In the end, the German winger didn’t end up going to either club and instead signed for PSG for €47million in January 2017.
This was six months before Salah arrived on Merseyside, yes, but Liverpool’s interest was supposedly real – they’re even said to have had a £36million bid rebuffed. PSG may well have done them a favour by swooping in mid-season.
Draxler made over 100 appearances for the Parisiens and won plenty of silverware, but he never blossomed into the fully-fledged world-beater he threatened to one day become. He’s currently out on loan at Benfica.