Robbie Fowler has explained why Liverpool’s contract breakthrough with Mohamed Salah is even better than first thought, and outlined why he’ll now become a club legend unlike two former strikers.
The Reds announced on Friday afternoon that Salah, 30, has committed to another two years at Anfield. The Egyptian’s new contract will run until 2025 and has made him the highest paid player in Liverpool’s history. However, it has not made him the highest paid in the Premier League.
In terms of basic salary, the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, David de Gea and Kevin De Bruyne will all stick pocket more than Salah’s reported £350,000-a-week.
Noises coming out of Liverpool suggests the deal is heavily incentivised. And according to Reds legend Robbie Fowler, it is that aspect that has made Liverpool’s contract breakthrough so special.
Additionally, Fowler – who is Liverpool’s record scorer in the Premier League era with 128 – reckons Salah will now go on to become a bona fide club legend.
Part of the criteria for attaining that status in Fowler’s eyes is longevity – something former fan favourites Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres didn’t have.
Fowler doesn’t consider that pair Reds legends as a result, especially after the way they engineered their way out of Anfield.
Salah can be a legend – unlike Suarez, Torres
“I’m delighted he’s staying,” Fowler wrote of Salah in his column for the Mirror.
“Regular readers of this column will have picked up on my thoughts that I don’t consider players as legends of any club unless they show some real passion and commitment to that club.
“I know I’m probably in the minority, but I’ve always rejected the idea Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres are Liverpool legends. Neither of them stuck around long enough to ever be regarded like that.
“Both of them tainted their legacy in the manner they left the club, with both of them seeming desperate to go and prepared to screw the club over.
“I always thought Salah was in danger of doing that too, with the way things were dragging on over his contract negotiations and the way his agent seemed to be stirring up trouble.
“But fair play to him. The bottom line is, he wanted to stay – probably to smash all my records! – and that tells me he wants to become a proper Liverpool legend.”
Bonus-laden contract a big win for Liverpool
Explaining why a heavily incentivised deal is such a masterstroke for Liverpool, Fowler continued: “First of all, it makes sense.
“As a manager myself these days, I understand you can’t simply go out and give players everything they want, even if, as a fan, that’s exactly what you think should happen.
“So Liverpool, like all clubs – all sensible ones anyway – need limits. The bottom line is always, “What is this player worth to the business?” and, from there, you work out whether you can afford to pay it.
“Last week when I wrote about Salah, it was clear they were still a long way apart in negotiations. So what happened? I’m told there was a bit of a breakthrough in the last few days concerning the structure of the deal.
“I don’t know the full details, but it does seem like he is prepared to take a contract that is heavily stacked towards bonuses. That’s a good sign because it means he really believes he is going to trigger those bonuses.
“Liverpool fans should be happy about that because it means he thinks he’s going to win even more trophies to get those bonuses.
“And that is the point – the club will be happy to pay them, too, because it means they are successful and bringing even more money in.”
Another reason behind breakthrough emerges
Today’s Transfer Gossip revealed Salah was in fact lining up a move to Chelsea.
The Blues are ready to splash the cash this summer and the Sun claimed a £60m bid would’ve twisted Liverpool’s arm.
However, once Sadio Mane was sold to Bayern Munich, Liverpool owners, FSG, softened their stance.
It’s claimed they quickly realised losing both Mane and Salah in the same window would have gone down like a lead balloon.
What’s more, selling Liverpool’s most potent attacker to a direct title rival would’ve been unpalatable for even the most optimistic of Reds fans.
Thankfully for those of a Liverpool persuasion, that scenario is now resigned to the scrapheap.