Mohamed Salah is one of the best players in world football, and has been for several seasons, but Liverpool are on course to lose the Egyptian on a free transfer next summer
The Reds have already acted quickly this summer to ensure they have a core squad ready to go into battle with next season, and potentially any other arrivals beyond this point are an added bonus. Though that could all change very quickly if certain issues are not resolved.
Salah’s contract expiring in 2023 with no extension agreed has been a grey cloud hovering over Anfield for months. The player has made it clear that he wants to remain at the club, and Liverpool themselves have been frank in their desire to reach an agreement – but here we are, with no deal agreed.
Reds legend Robbie Fowler recently spoke about his former side’s decision to part ways with Mane, who, like Salah, was also out of contract in 2023 and the judgement that the club must have made to come to that decision. He said: “One thing is obvious, the club has done some very clear, precise and unemotional calculations with Mane.
“He’s 31 in April, has a huge amount of running in his legs, and wanted a huge contract as one of the best players in the world. I don’t blame him for that. Mane is the equal of virtually every world-class star at the moment and rightly wanted that recognition with the going rate for the last big contract of his career.
“What Liverpool so obviously did though, was run their analytics – which to their credit they do so well – and decided selling him to buy Darwin Nunez and keep their wage structure in place was the right thing for the club. It begs the question, what calculations have they run on Salah?
“I don’t know all the answers, but what screams out to me so clearly, is they won’t be breaking their wage structure to keep him. If they were prepared to do that, it would have happened by now.” Replacing Salah will be one of the toughest tasks that Jurgen Klopp has faced since heading to the Premier League, arguably greater than his entire rebuild of the Anfield outfit.
Liverpool’s interest in Marco Asensio certainly suggests that there are conversations going on behind closed doors about who is capable of stepping up if Salah is sold – will it be Diogo Jota, Harvey Elliott or a fresh face – though finding a suitor for the Egypt international will be a tough task. Very few clubs will be able to afford his wages.
Klopp is keeping tabs on Asensio and feels that he may be able to help him realise his true potential having struggled to meet expectations at Real Madrid. The Spaniard has proved a versatile option for Los Blancos but arrived at the club as a teenager that many thought would develop into one of the best in the business.
Salah, of course, is exactly that and thus Klopp must decide whether he stresses the importance of the winger to the higher powers at Liverpool or takes a back seat and tackles whatever the outcome of the situation is. The deadline is before January, when Salah can sign pre-agreement deals elsewhere, meaning that the Reds have to calculate what wages they feel their star forward deserves – if they can’t, they’ll lose him on a free transfer.