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Roberto Firmino open to Premier League return

Roberto Firmino

Roberto Firmino is open to returning to the Premier League, and could leave Saudi Arabia this January.

Firmino joined Al Ahli on a three-year contract when his Liverpool deal expired last summer and got off to a roaring start in the Middle East when he netted a hat-trick on the opening weekend of the season against Al Hazem.

Since then, however, Firmino has not scored in the 18 appearances that have followed and he has lost his place in the starting lineup to Saudi international Firas Al Buraikan, who has 11 league goals to his name this year. Part of the reason for this is he is not seen as a fit in Matthias Jaissle’s system.

Having failed to start any of his side’s last eight games, Firmino is exploring his options and 90min understands he could be offered a route back to the Premier League.

Fulham and Nottingham Forest are both known to be keeping abreast of Firmino’s situation, while Sheffield United enquired about his services under former boss Paul Heckingbottom. The Blades have since hired Chris Wilder as manager and signed Ben Brereton Diaz on loan from Villarreal, making it unclear whether they will advance any formative interest.

Firmino has not been a regular starter

Firmino also has interest from both Brazil and Turkey. Sources close to Saudi dealmakers initially wanted to explore keeping Firmino in Saudi with Al Shabab and Al Ettifaq both interested. But this would require Al Ahli to pay a huge proportion of his wages to make a deal possible to make it financially possible for either club. As a result, it’s now thought Firmino is more likely to be sent abroad.

Nonetheless, Gerrard has openly called for reinforcements to be found this winter after seeing his side fall to eighth in the Saudi Pro League, but expensive overseas signings are not financially possible for Al Ettifaq this month and so he is keen to take advantage of Firmino’s current situation.

Firmino, who was joined by fellow former Liverpool star Fabinho at Anfield to watch the 4-2 victory over Newcastle United on New Year’s Day, is open to all options. However, only a temporary move will be possible since he is still viewed as part of Al Ahli’s long-term plans. As it stands, no formal offer has been received by Al Ahli, but that could change before the window shuts.