After recently hitting the 100 goal mark in the Premier League, Mohamed Salah has continually shown his contributions to Jurgen Klopp’s side.
The ever-present Egyptian lit up the Premier League with 34 goals in his first season and hasn’t slowed down. After enjoying a summer free of international commitments, Salah already has 6 goals and 2 assists this season.
However, Liverpool continue to negotiate with Salah over a contract extension that will see his salary rise from the ₤200K/week he currently earns. Set to expire in 2023, urgency is building for the club to secure the long-term future of their star player.
Understandably, Salah wants a considerable pay raise that will place him amongst the league’s highest-paid players. But just how far should Liverpool be willing to go in the negotiations?
The League’s Best Player?
Since his arrival in 2017, it’s hard to argue that any Premier League player has been as consistently brilliant as Salah.
Salah has 100 goals and 35 assists in just over four Premier League seasons for Liverpool, 24 more than any other player. Furthermore, this fails to consider his impact in leading Liverpool’s Champions League successes. Despite his relatively short stint with the Reds, Salah is just three goals shy of tying Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool record of 30 Champions League goals.
This is one of many records that Salah is soon to break, accompanying a long list of milestones that the Egyptian has achieved. Some records he already holds include most Premier League goals in a season, most Premier League goals by a winger, most games scored in a Premier League season, and fastest to reach 50 Premier League goals.
Perhaps the most astounding aspect of Salah’s resume is his durability. In the 157 Premier League games that Liverpool have played in since Salah’s arrival, he has played in 150 of them (95.5%). In comparison, fellow stars Harry Kane and Kevin de Bruyne have played in 84.7% and 75.2% of games, respectively.
Quite simply, Salah is the best in the business, and with that comes a price. The man has earned the right to hold out for top dollar.
FSG’s policy has always been to invest in youth. As a matter of fact, the only field player that Liverpool have signed on the wrong side of 30 is Ragnar Klavan.
Salah recently turned 29. The Egyptian is still undoubtedly in his prime and will be for the next few years, but he’s no longer one for the future by any means.
However, this should not deter Liverpool. Salah’s injury record indicates that he should age better than most. Furthermore, Salah has shown that he no longer relies on his pace to create chances, meaning he could have a long-term future in a more central attacking role, similar to the shift that Cristiano Ronaldo made late in his career.
Liverpool have also given contract extensions to Jordan Henderson (31), Virgil van Dijk (30), and Alisson (28) in the past few months. Thus, age should not be a deterrent.
Alongside the three aforementioned players, Liverpool have also extended the contracts of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, and Andy Robertson in recent times. The club is committed to retaining the core of the team that won Premier League and Champions League titles.
Van Dijk leads the crew earning ₤220K a week. Alexander-Arnold and Fabinho follow at ₤180K a week, with Henderson and Robertson trailing at ₤140K and ₤100K a week, respectively.
Salah should easily eclipse these marks. An attacking player is always more likely to earn higher wages than a defender. Count in the fact that Liverpool extended the contract at a time when Van Dijk had about as little leverage as possible coming off an injury (which was still a lot of leverage), and Salah’s asking price should be much more.
How does he compare to other star players?
The ₤200K a week that Salah currently earns places him in a tie with several others for 17th-highest in the Premier League. You probably couldn’t name 17 players in Premier League history, let alone in the current game, better than Salah.
Some of the players ahead of Salah include John Stones, Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, and Timo Werner. This is absurd but explained by poor decisions by the respective clubs.
However, at the top, we see the Premier League’s best. Discluding Cristiano Ronaldo’s astronomical ₤510/week, Kevin de Bruyne leads the way making ₤400K/week. Raphael Varane earns ₤350K/week, Romelu Lukaku ₤325K/week, and N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba sitting at ₤290K/week.
Liverpool don’t have the spending power of the Manchester clubs or Chelsea, but Salah can easily make an argument that he should be near De Bruyne’s wages. At the very least, he can argue that he should come close to Lukaku’s wages.
Neither Jurgen Klopp nor Liverpool’s board undermines the value of Salah. The issue becomes whether or not they are willing to shatter their wage structure for Salah.
Manchester United have 7 players that earn more than Liverpool’s highest-paid player, while Manchester City have 4. De Bruyne makes nearly double what Van Dijk currently makes.
Liverpool need to accept that to remain competitive, they at least need to stay within touching distance of the spending power of these clubs. Losing Salah due to wage demands would be the biggest mistake that FSG has ever made.
Nonetheless, Salah is an incredibly generous individual. I don’t feel that he is looking to extract every last quid out of the club. However, he wants to be properly compensated for his contributions.
Therefore, I think Liverpool should look to ink Salah down to a deal in the range of ₤300-325K/week. Liverpool can make Salah happier by making the extension run until 2026, allowing him to enjoy the high wages well into his 30s. By doing this, the Kop can continue to watch the Egyptian king run down the wing.