MO SALAH was prepared to move to Chelsea before his deal made him the highest-paid player in Liverpool history.
Blues’ new owner Todd Boehly had lined up Reds’ star Salah, 30, as talks stalled over a new three-year deal.
It was a major factor in Kop owners FSG coming up with a deal worth almost £400,000 a week.
Salah, through agent Ramy Abbas, had made it clear to Fenway Sports Group that he would consider returning to Stamford Bridge, where he spent two years from 2014-16.
FSG spent almost a year baulking at wage demands beyond the structure that had seen Virgil van Dijk as the club’s top earner on £225,000 a week.
SunSport revealed Liverpool were even prepared to take £60million for Salah rather than let him leave on a free next June at the end of his old deal.
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But the Americans realized that, having been forced to sell Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich in a £35m deal, losing Salah to a Prem rival would have gone down badly.
The Blues threat forced a major rethink before handing Salah a deal which will see him bank at least £62m.
He signed on the dotted line on Friday while on holiday on the Greek island of Mykonos.
There may be a greater price to pay by FSG for the likes of Van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold who signed new deals last season could now ask for a major top-up.
But the Anfield hierarchy insists that Salah’s pay deal is heavily incentivized while a chunk of it is connected to the Egyptian star’s image rights.
They hope those details will get them off the hook if other stars now start demanding more.
Yet in the end FSG still believed that the risk of taking any financial collateral damage from the fall-out of the Salah deal was worth taking.
Darwin Nunez was signed as a replacement for Mane at a price of £64m rising to a potential club record of £85m.
Portuguese prodigy Fabio Carvalho, 19, was also brought in from Fulham in another £7.7m attacking investment.
But in the end losing Salah to a major competitor like Chelsea either in the coming weeks or next year they knew would have been seen as a massive blow to the club’s prestige.