Liverpool and Mohamed Salah plan talks over forward’s future

Mohamed Salah

Liverpool and Mohamed Salah will hold discussions at the end of the season which will determine his short-term and long-term Anfield future.

Salah’s £350,000 a week contract runs until the summer of 2025, and the new hierarchy of incoming sporting director Richard Hughes and Fenway Sports Group president Michael Edwards always intended to park any conversations until the summer.

A similar situation applies to skipper Virgil van Dijk and vice-captain Trent Alexander-Arnold, whose contract situation is identical.

The club’s immediate priority was replacing Jürgen Klopp. Now  that has effectively been done with an agreement in place for Feyenoord’s Arne Slot, attention will shift to the senior players.

Liverpool and Salah will have plenty to ponder. For the club, there must be a consideration as to whether a player who turns 32 in June should be offered an extended deal on the same lucrative terms.

Salah and Klopp
Salah's 'row' with Klopp will have no bearing on his short-term future at Liverpool - Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Salah is one of the world’s most coveted strikers and as the club demonstrated with his last deal which he signed just after his 30th birthday, they appreciate the market value of their asset.

Even if there is no agreement before next season, it does not follow that Salah will inevitably leave this summer.

Liverpool have a history of allowing star players to see out their contracts. That happened in the case of Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana, among others, and is about to be repeated with Thiago Alcantara.

It was an open secret the Saudi Arabia Pro-League wanted to make the Egyptian their poster boy in last summer’s transfer window. Liverpool stood firm, with Klopp adamant that no bid would ever be accepted and Salah was “100 per cent committed to Anfield”.

For the first half of this season, that position was fully vindicated. Salah was one of the Premier League’s best performers until he left for Africa Cup of Nations duty in January, suffered a hamstring injury and has played despite ongoing treatment since his return to the Liverpool first team.

Despite the unsatisfactory scenes on the touchline at the London Stadium on Saturday, Salah’s professionalism during his seven years at Anfield has been exemplary.

His reaction towards the manager was typical of a world-class player whose pride was hurt having been left out of an important game, with emotions high. He has been courted by the world’s top clubs throughout his Anfield career and never agitated for a move, nor given less than 100 percent in training and in fixtures.

Indeed, there is every expectation that with a summer’s rest he will return as sharp as ever in pre-season, effectively guaranteeing Slot a 25-goal-per-year striker. The idea Liverpool would willingly give up or encourage bids for such a rare talent is fanciful. It has long been considered Salah will still be prolific into his mid-30s.

The great unknown at this stage, of course, is whether the Saudis will return with bids similar to last summer.

Liverpool were in a strong position to resist in 2023 as they knew Salah had two years left on his deal. Even world-record numbers were dismissed.

The economic situation is different this time given the distinct possibility of Salah leaving on a free transfer, or signing a pre-contract agreement with an overseas club in January 2025. Liverpool risk losing a huge transfer fee.

But it is hypothetical to imagine how Liverpool would react this summer to a bid in excess of £100 million, if one materialised from the Saudis. Just as speculative is the idea Salah would ask to go.

He has never indicated he thinks his time at the top of European football is over, and having missed out on the Champions League this season it would be a surprise if he surrendered the chance to have another crack at it in 2025.

New coach Slot may allow himself a wry smile at some of the hysteria around Anfield since it became clear he is replacing Klopp, with an assortment of reports suggesting Salah and Luís Díaz may be leaving, Darwin Núñez’s position is under threat, and Liverpool need a couple of midfielders and defenders.

Suffice to say, the club does not share the view that a mass reconstruction of a squad which was dreaming of a treble until three weeks ago is required. Nor are they anticipating a significant exodus. Slot was recruited to build on the foundations of a season which – despite its unhappy end – promises much moving forward with plenty of young talent.

As things stand, it is more likely Salah will be part of the new era.

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