Raman Hariharan –
Mohamed Salah and Liverpool are at the crossroads of a new contract, as both parties wait on the other to blink first.
In case they don’t, then a move away from Liverpool is quite possible for the Egyptian in the summer. Talks have been ongoing over a renewal for months without either side ready to reach an agreement. If the impasse drags any further, fans will be concerned, as a departure for the Egyptian very much the outcome.
Considered the best player in the world on current form, Liverpool are playing a dangerous game and taking a huge gamble with his future. The Egyptian could certainly leave or stay at the club for years to come, depending on further talks. Whatever the outcome, Salah is set to become the biggest transfer story next summer, bigger than Kylian Mbappe or Erling Haaland.
A lowdown on the contract stalemate
Liverpool has pondered giving Salah a new deal for at least two years now after the star forward’s performances for the club. The Egyptian signed a new contract after the 2018 Champions League Final, committing until 2023. Now with just 18 months left, other clubs could smell blood and might make an approach for a move next June.
Salah made his case from the start of this season with an unmatched scoring record and helped Liverpool conquer on all fronts. The player and his agents are demanding a huge wage package, somewhere in the range of £450,000 to £500,000-per-week (Over 5 crore INR) to stay at Liverpool. In hindsight, this is way too much for any club in world football let alone the Premier League side.
Salah gave an interview to Sky Sports stating how much he would love to spend the rest of his career at the club. As the PR machine churned stories, many pundits urged Liverpool to give him a new bumper deal to ward off interest from other clubs. Very recently, even manager Jurgen Klopp asked fans to be calm about the situation and give it time.
He said, “So really a lot of things can happen when someone tries to do that and Mo is fine, I am fine. I think what we all want is clear and things like this need time, that is it,
As things stand, there is an impasse between both parties, which will be resolved one way or another next summer. For Salah there are two things that could happen; 1. He will get better offers between now and the end of the season, which will let him evaluate his options and maybe hold as a counter for Liverpool to match it. Or, 2. Salah might blink first and commit to a long-term contract on Liverpool’s terms.
Which clubs could afford Salah?
While ruling out the Italian, German and most Premier League sides, only four or five clubs can realistically afford to sign Salah. Despite the glaring problem of the Egyptian being 29-years-old, these clubs will care less for that fact and splash the money to bring him. Manchester City, Newcastle United, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, and Real Madrid are possible destinations for the forward if the day comes when he has to depart Liverpool.
Manchester City will be keen on signing the superstar from their biggest rivals, although Newcastle could be ruled out now for Sporting reasons. Salah may never join Manchester United for his connection with Liverpool. Real Madrid can certainly afford it, although they might not be willing to pay a huge transfer fee, and would only consider Salah if they fail to sign Kylian Mbappe. It leaves Paris Saint-Germain, alongside Manchester City as the only realistic set of clubs who could sign the Egyptian.
Liverpool might look to profit by demanding a sizeable transfer fee if they cannot agree on new terms with the forward. Ideally, the club should find a middle ground and pay up with a rewarding new contract, without breaking the bank for one star. Salah will play for many more years to come and the Reds should not waste the opportunity just yet.
From a business perspective, they won’t be able to extract the value on the player after 2-3 years, which will be one way of thinking for the club. However, in terms of the sport, Salah will continue to guarantee goals for the club and remain a key part for the next few years, helping the side win trophies and titles.
So the question is should Liverpool cash in on Salah next year or invest significantly in the player who could give another two or possibly three seasons at the top level. Let us know what should be the outcome and if the player decides to leave, which club should sign him?