Jamie Carragher has outlined the thought process of Liverpool regarding an imminent £83.2m gamble over the career of a truly elite star.
Mohamed Salah continues to be the Reds’ most influential player. While some might bestow that honour on Virgil van Dijk, no one can look past the Egyptian forward’s frightening statistics.
Salah has top-scored for Liverpool every season he has been at Anfield. With eight goals in his first eight matches this season, he is already well on course to extending that streak to five.
However, Salah remains the last of Liverpool’s elite stars who is yet to commit their long-term future.
And writing in his column for the Telegraph, Reds legend Carragher has claimed Liverpool should be wary of taking what they already have for granted.
Carragher outlined the club’s thought process when it comes to potentially opting against giving Salah and his agent what they seek in negotiations. A £400-000-per-week deal would constitute £83.2m over four years, and Carragher relayed why owners FSG may wince at that thought.
“If anyone assembles an all-time greatest Liverpool XI, Salah’s name must now be in it,” wrote Carragher.
“In four full seasons, he has ensured he will be forever in such exalted company as Kenny Dalglish, Steven Gerrard, Ian Rush and John Barnes. His two goals against Porto in midweek mean he has eight in eight games this season, and 38 goals or assists in 45 Champions League games. His overall Liverpool tally is 133 goals in 211 games.
“Should he stay for another four years, Salah will be close to matching [Roger] Hunt’s 285 for the club, only Rush above him in the all-time goalscoring list. These are insanely impressive numbers for someone who does not play as a central striker.
“Yet as things stand, Salah may not be at Anfield beyond his current contract in 2023.
“There is a presumption that the impasse in talks for a new deal will be resolved, the club and his representative compromising to ensure the Egyptian commits until he is 33 years old. There is no sign that is imminent. Worryingly, it is possible Salah will leave on a Bosman free transfer.
“It would be a serious mistake to let the situation drag on that far. I understand it is not as straightforward as saying “just give the player what he wants” without thoroughly considering the financial consequences.
Liverpool to rival Spurs for Dusan Vlahovic
Liverpool will reportedly rival Spurs for Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic, with more news on Luis Diaz, Fabio Vieira and Mikel Damsgaard.
“As ex-players, fans and media, we cannot on the one hand condemn our clubs for risking economic stability, or exploring contentious means of increasing revenue, while on the other demanding they pay ‘whatever it takes’ to sign £100 million players or sanction record salaries. The cash has to come from somewhere.
“They do not want to set precedents that will cause long-term financial damage by agreeing wages in excess of £400,000-a-week.
“Handing such a four-year deal to Salah, for example, represents a commitment of around £83.2m. There will be a calculation that if his level significantly drops after he turns 30, the club might be stuck with a high earner who is draining resources.”
Salah can follow Ronaldo, Messi paths – Carragher
Carragher then outlined a compelling case for why Liverpool should take that gamble. In his eyes, Salah is the sort of player who will be just as effective well into his 30s.
“My counter-argument is that exceptional players warrant being treated as an exception,” continued Carragher.
“Everything about Salah suggests that unless he suffers serious injury he is in such perfect physical shape and such a professional on and off the pitch, he will still be producing until he is 33, and probably for a couple of years beyond that.
“Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are an inspiration to their peers. They show how the early 30s are no barrier to enduring excellence.”