Salah sent clear contract message by Liverpool - and Mane sale proves it
If Mohamad Salah was in any doubt about Liverpool's determination to stay within their existing wage structure, then the quick sale - and subsequent replacement - of Sadio Mane, should act as a reminder to the Egyptian that FSG and the Liverpool hierarchy will not be bullied or threatened into breaking the bank, regardless of who the player is or what they have done for the club.
Nearly 9 months after contract negotiations first began, Liverpool and Salah are no nearer to reaching an agreement on a new deal. The player himself has confirmed that he will be at Anfield next season, but whilst that may seem like a noble gesture on the face of it, in reality it is simply Salah's way of saying that he will see out the last year of his contract and leave on a free if necessary.
No Liverpool fan wants to see Salah move away, particularly as there are only a handful of clubs capable of paying the wages he is reportedly demanding, and all of those clubs are direct rivals to Liverpool, either in the Premier League or Champions League. But on the other hand, no Liverpool fan wants to see the club break its wage structure and start paying money that it hasn't got. Since their arrival in 2010, FSG have made financial stability the cornerstone of their approach to running the club. Despite some errors in judgement (the European Super League comes to mind) no true Reds fan can complain about the clubs financial position. Simply put, Liverpool is one of the best run clubs in Europe, let alone England. Whilst the likes of Chelsea and Man City play Fantasy football with limitless funds, and Man Utd and Everton pour billions of pounds into overpaid, underachieving players, FSG have quietly gone about rebuilding Liverpool's finances from the ground up.
At the heart of that approach is the belief that its better to invest in young, up and coming players with large potential, than to pay over the odds for 'ready made stars'. That's the reason Salah and Mane were brought to Liverpool in the first place. Both were young, exciting talents who had yet to fulfil their potential. Their transfer fees, whilst not small, were not extortionate by any standards and both are now heralded as examples of the brilliance of Michael Edwards and the Liverpool recruitment team.
Many fans often criticise FSG for not spending enough money, but you only have to look at Manchester United's recent transfer record to see that simply spending money is not a guarantee of success. United have paid Pogba and Ronaldo a combined weekly fee of £750,000 - and what has it got them - a spot in the Europa League.
And so the question of Salah's new contract remains. Undoubtedly he is one of the best footballers on the planet and Liverpool are a better team with him in the squad. But is it worth sacrificing our financial stability for one player? What if he signs for £400,000 a week and then gets a career threatening injury. What if other players are injured and replacements are needed but no money is available because its all been spent on Salah? What about Alison, Van Dijk and Alexander-Arnold - all key players who would be hard to replace. Would they then not also have a right to demand £400,000 a week. Making an exception for one player would open the floodgates for every other member of the squad to ask for more.
As someone once said, no player is bigger than the club, and no matter how good a player Salah is - or the goals that he has scored - he is not, and cannot, be more important than the long term future of the club, and in our opinion, FSG should not offer him more than the club can safely afford. If that means an agreement cannot be reached and he leaves at the end of next season then that is what must happen, but as Mane's departure has reminded us, Liverpool are now one of the best in the business at recruiting new players, and the 'next' Salah is waiting to be discovered.
Stay tuned to LFC - Back On Our Perch for all the latest contract developments involving Salah and Liverpool FC.
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