Unai Emery had doubts over signing Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah while at PSG
Last Updated: 28/12/18 5:02pm
Unai Emery says he opted not to sign Mohamed Salah while Paris Saint-Germain boss as he had doubts over the Egyptian’s ability to perform at a big club.
The Gunners head coach will come up against Salah and his team-mates on Saturday, with Premier League leaders Liverpool looking to maintain their unbeaten season.
Salah has scored 59 goals in 78 matches across all competitions since moving to Anfield from Roma in the summer of 2017, but Emery admits he had been unsure of how the 26-year-old would cope at a big club when the possibility of taking him to Paris presented itself.
"We spoke about the possibility to sign Salah to Paris Saint-Germain when he was playing at Roma," Emery said.
"We had some doubts - and then he signed for Liverpool and these doubts he has broken at Liverpool. Now, if you are speaking about the five top players in the world, one is Salah."
Asked what the specific doubts were, Emery added: "Can he take the performance into one big team?
"For example like PSG in Paris. And today I can say to you...if we signed him, we signed one player in the top five in the world."
Emery highlighted the signing of Salah - and the later addition of centre-back Virgil van Dijk - as key moments in Jurgen Klopp's development of his title challengers.
"I remember they had a problem in their defensive moments and bought some people - for example Van Dijk - with a good investment and the result is we are looking at them today and their progress," he said.
"They are very strong in defence and also they are improving a lot when they bought Salah and now offensively they are a very big team.
"I think the Premier League is now the best and most important competition in the world for the teams, with Spain, maybe Italy and Germany. But I think here are the best teams and players and now the leader in the table is Liverpool - and it is because they are doing things very well."