Unai Emery turned down the chance to sign Mohamed Salah when he was with Paris Saint-Germain, but he admits the winger is now one of the top five players in the world.
Before Salah joined Liverpool, when he was playing for AS Roma in Italy, PSG had the opportunity to bring him to Ligue 1. However, Emery admits the club had doubts about the player’s ability to perform in a top team, after his failed spell at Chelsea.
“We had some doubts and then he signed for Liverpool and these doubts he has broken at Liverpool,” Emery said. “Can he perform in a big team? For example like PSG in Paris. Today I can say to you if we sign him we sign a player in the top five in the world.”
To be fair to PSG, they went and signed Neymar anyway, so it’s not as if they missed out on bringing a world-class winger to the club. At the same time, they probably regret wasting the opportunity to do so for such a cheap price, given they spent hundreds of millions on the Brazilian whilst Salah cost Liverpool €42m rising to €50m.
From an Arsenal point of view, life in the Premier League would’ve certainly been easier if Salah hadn’t been around for the last year and a half, so it’s a shame PSG didn’t bring him in.
At the time, you can understand why there were still doubts about him though. As good as Salah was with Roma, it was the first time in his career he’d really impressed in a top league.
Even in Serie A, Salah only looked half as good as he has since joining Liverpool. Whilst it was a smart buy by Jurgen Klopp’s transfer team, even they would probably admit they got a bit lucky.