Roberto Firmino dealt new blow as brutal transfer decision 'made' on Liverpool hero

Roberto Firmino waves to the crowd after being substituted for Saudi Pro League side Al Ahli.
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images)

Mohamed Salah and Alisson Becker are just two of the Liverpool players to have been linked with moves to the Saudi Pro League this summer, though neither is expected to be interested in leaving Arne Slot's new project.

But of the ex-Reds stars who headed to the Middle East last summer, things have not gone smoothly for many. Jordan Henderson was with Al Ettifaq for around six months before escaping to Ajax, while Fabinho has barely been spoken about after his departure for Al Ittihad. Roberto Firmino, meanwhile, managed just nine goals for Al Ahli. Three came on his debut.

Gini Wijnaldum has retained his place in the Dutch national squad even after moving to Saudi Arabia. But the players who have been the most successful in the region, like Cristiano Ronaldo, would surely have to admit privately that there is a significant caveat to their goalscoring records: the quality of the division is simply not that great yet.

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Liverpool hero Firmino moved to Al Ahli last summer when his contract at Anfield expired. There were suggestions of interest from the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona but that came to nothing and he didn't have loads of other options.

But 12 months on, Firmino could be on the move again. His manager, Matthias Jaissle, has supposedly asked the Saudi Pro League club to find a replacement and move the Brazilian on, with the 32-year-old being brutally viewed as not up to scratch. That is according to the Italian reporter Rudy Galletti who says that Al Ahli is 'working' to make that happen.

It remains to be seen where Firmino might go next but the move didn't pan out in the way that many expected. At one stage, he went on a 16-game streak without finding the back of the net and could have been sold in January before staying put.

It is strange that the lower intensity and lower quality league didn't play into the hands of such a gifted footballer as Firmino in the Saudi top flight. More interesting will be where he goes should Al Ahli be able to find a buyer. He will presumably be on big wages at the moment and there is no obvious destination where that could remain the case.

Philippe Coutinho is expected to seal a move back to Brazil with Vasco da Gama when he ends his association with Aston Villa. Perhaps fellow Brazilian former Liverpool star Firmino could do something similar and head back to South America.