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27th Apr 2018

Why Roma wouldn’t have made it to CL semi-finals if they’d kept Mo Salah

They had no choice but to sell

Darragh Murphy

If Mohamed Salah continues in the current vein, his move to Liverpool could go down as the greatest bargain in Premier League history.

While Liverpool’s summer deal for Salah initially filled Reds owner John W. Henry with concern that he was overpaying for the then-Roma winger, Salah wasted no time in proving that he was, in fact, a snip at £37 million.

Salah has enjoyed a quite remarkable campaign on Merseyside, scoring 43 goals already this season, and Roma’s decision to sell the Egypt international has come in for some criticism.

But Roma’s director of football Monchi has explained how the Serie A club essentially had no other option but to part ways with Salah due to Financial Fair Play regulations.

“We had a need to sell. We had no option but to sell Salah before June 30,” Monchi told Spanish radio station Onda Cero.

“Had we not done that, we probably wouldn’t be here playing the semi-final of the Champions League as we had Uefa closely monitoring us.

“We had to take an offer before the end of the month. He wanted to leave, but we would have kept him if the regulations weren’t against us.

“When I arrived, the offer [from Liverpool] was €30m (£26m) but we managed to get it up to almost €50m (£43m) with bonuses. That is what we could do. The market then went crazy with Neymar, Coutinho and Dembele.”

After an incredible eight months, Salah finds himself in the Ballon d’Or discussion, having already picked up the PFA Player of the Year award last week.

The 25-year-old punished his former club on Tuesday with a first-half brace in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final, which finished 5-2.

Salah will return to the Stadio Olimpico next Wednesday with the hope that Roma can’t pull off a repeat of their Champions League quarter-final heroics against Barcelona.

“He’s had an extraordinary season. Of course, people have questioned why we sold him. We congratulate Liverpool for buying him,” Monchi added.

“Unfortunately, we suffered that on Tuesday night because we know of his quality. He is a very strong player.”