The door to Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah joining the Saudi Pro League is not closed, says the SPL director of football Michael Emenalo.
Al-Ittihad had a £150m offer for the 31-year-old rejected last week, with the Reds insisting he was not for sale.
A move for Salah did not materialise before the SPL transfer window closed on 7 September.
“First and foremost, Mohamed Salah is one of the best players on the planet,” Emenalo told Sky Sports.
The bid for Salah, who signed a new three-year contract with Liverpool last summer, was for in excess of £100m, with add-ons taking it up to £150m.
Emenalo added: “I’ve said before, privately and publicly that we welcome anybody that wants to come [to the SPL] and that includes Salah. “But we have to do things in a very professional and respectful manner. That’s what we’re there for, it’s what the SPL has been refined to do – bring professionalism, respect of efficiencies, and to do things in a competent way.”
The Al-Ittihad offer came just before the English transfer window closed on 1 September and gave Liverpool little time to bring in a replacement.
Nevertheless, the Reds, and manager Jurgen Klopp, maintained Salah would be staying at the club.
“You can’t imagine how much fuss the world has made but how calm we are with it,” said Klopp after his side beat Aston Villa on 3 September. “He is our player and wants to play here.”
Salah scored against Villa to take his tally for Liverpool to 188 goals in 309 games.
“If it didn’t happen, it’s not because we no longer fancy the player, or because we have a problem with Liverpool,” added Emenalo.
“It’s because certain things that need to align for all the parties involved in the process didn’t align.
“Nobody is angry, we move on, but we absolutely close no doors and if the opportunity is there to do things and do it well – and it brings Mohamed Salah to the Saudi Pro League we will all be very grateful.”