Mohamed Salah’s new contract might make Liverpool’s life harder in the transfer market

Few teams have navigated the transfer market as well as Liverpool in recent years. Indeed, the scouting and recruitment staff at Anfield have earned themselves a reputation for being the best in the Premier League. They have found value in places others failed to look. They deserve as much credit for the Reds’ recent success as Jurgen Klopp.

 

However, there has been a shift in the landscape at Liverpool this summer. The club broke its transfer record to sign Darwin Nunez for £85m from Benfica, but most notably they signed Mohamed Salah to a long-term contract worth a reported £400,000-a-week. This makes the Egyptian one of the highest-paid players in the Premier League.

 

Of course, Salah might argue this is in line with his status as a superstar of the European game. He has made himself a Liverpool legend since signing for the club in 2017, scoring a sensational 118 goals in 180 Premier League appearances. If Kevin de Bruyne is on £400,000-a-week at Manchester City, then market value suggests Salah should be on similar.

 

And yet Salah’s new contract is out of line with Liverpool’s strategy of the last few years. They have broken their wage structure to keep a 30-year-old on a three-year contract when there was the option to sell him on for a sizeable fee and reinvest the money in a younger player who could perform for longer.

 

“I have no doubt Mo’s best years are still to come,” Klopp said, addressing concerns over Salah’s age. “And that’s saying something, because the first five seasons here have been the stuff of legend. “Fitness-wise, he’s a machine – in the most incredible shape. He works hard on it and he gets his rewards. His ability and his skill level gets higher each season, and his decision-making has gone to another level also.”

 

Even if Salah continues to perform at the same high level until 2025, his new contract could give Liverpool a problem in the transfer market. New signings might use the Egyptian’s salary as a benchmark for their own demands. Current players might do the same same thing in contract negotiations. Salah’s new deal could inflate the wages Liverpool end up paying to the rest of their squad.

 

Many questioned how Michael Edwards departure as sporting director would change Liverpool and their approach in the transfer market and it’s possible the first signs of a change of tact are now evident. The Reds made a statement of intent by signing Nunez and made another by keeping Salah.

 

Liverpool still made the decision to move on Sadio Mane rather than tie him to a new contract, with the Senegalese winger joining Bayern Munich last month, but the call to hand Salah a new deal reveals a split in the way the club is now regarding renewals. It’s possible the cohesion that held together Liverpool’s transfer market strategy is now fraying.

 

None of this will affect Liverpool next season. Klopp’s team will be strong again and will have their sights set on the Premier League and Champions League titles. Mane’s exit might be felt somewhat, but the Reds have Nunez to fill the gap. What’s more, Luis Diaz was pre-emptively signed as Mane’s direct replacement in January.

 

In the long-term, though, it’s possible that the decisions made this summer, including the one to sign Salah to an historical large contract, will set a precedent that shakes Liverpool from their current trajectory. Keeping a player of Salah’s quality might seem a no-brainer, but Liverpool have got to where they are by thinking differently than the rest.

 

Author: Tamara Kim