Editor’s Column: A new Mo Salah contract would still represent Liverpool winning the transfer window

A recent poll suggested that only 54.2% of Liverpool fans are happy with owners FSG.

That means almost half would want the Americans, who saved the club, upgraded Anfield, built us a new training facility, appointed Jurgen Klopp and were in charge when Liverpool won the Champions League, Club World Cup and Premier League, to sell up.

Of course, there’s some serious recency bias involved in polls like this – and FSG’s PR blunders and lack of transfer activity has began to gnaw away at the good will their achievements built up…

They messed up during the pandemic last year in their attempt to furlough staff, then really hit rock bottom with the attempted European Super League exit – but the FSG naysayers (and there are an increasing number) largely focus on the lack of players through the door.

In the past 12/13 months though, Liverpool have signed Thiago (world-class midfielder), Diogo Jota (bargain, elite attacker), Kostas Tsimikas (much-needed back-up left-back), Ibou Konate (potentially world-class centre-back) and in January, Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies (two stop-gap defenders).

So, when you consider the talent already on the club’s books, it’s not a horrifically barren few windows – it just perhaps looks that way when compared to our petro-backed rivals.

For me, Liverpool need another attacker through the door this summer – especially given Mo Salah and Sadio Mane will be absent at the AFCON come the winter – but the lack of incomings isn’t catastrophic – given the emergence of Harvey Elliott and the fact we now have four frontline centre-backs instead of zero.

Importantly, Jurgen Klopp seems happy. When asked about replacing Gini Wijnaldum, the German spoke about Elliott and Curtis Jones – and how the club needs to make sure there is a path for emerging talent.

“You cannot just add on players to this squad and say ‘Let’s have a look how that works’ because you have to deal with the squad the whole year,’” he said. 

“Curtis (Jones) is another player who can and will make the next step, he is an exceptional talent. Now you tell me which player we need.

“When a player leaves you have to think ‘Do we have to replace him or not?’ With Gini it was like that, but we have two players who are not new but can make the next step in Harvey and Curtis.”

Wherever you stand on the transfer situation – and there’s still a chance we’ll get one in if Xherdan Shaqiri is sold – by the way – Liverpool have nailed it on contract renewals this summer…

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson, Fabinho and Virgil van Dijk have all penned lucrative new deals that will keep them at the club for the next four or five years. Jordan Henderson will imminently follow.

But the one that will ultimately define how successful this summer has been will be Mo Salah’s.

The Egyptian is our best player. He is the man who scores the goals, makes things happen and gets it done in the big moments. When Mane and Roberto Firmino went flat last season, he carried us – even through that depressingly barren January spell.

This term, he’s started where he left off, producing two assists and a goal on opening day, making it five consecutive Premier League seasons for Liverpool in which he’s netted on Game Day One.

I’m not sure I’d swap Salah for any attacker on the planet. Lionel Messi? Well, not now he’s 34. Neymar? Always injured. Harry Kane? Nah. Kylian Mbappe? Maybe – but only because he’s seven years younger and could theoretically do the business at Anfield for the next decade… But still, at current ability, I’d still take Salah – he’s that good.

And that’s why his contract renewal is the most important of the lot. Liverpool have actually done smart business by doing the other big contracts first… Why? Because now the big earners who’ve just renewed won’t be able to base their demands on the salary Salah gets.

His agent Rammy Abbas Issa is obviously demanding ludicrous money – which is why the 29-year-old has yet to put pen to paper. Liverpool drive a hard bargain, but Salah is one of the best players on the planet and wants to get paid in line with that calibre of superstar.

Issa unhelpfully tweeted this after Salah’s goal versus Norwich on Saturday – which goes to show the ongoing battle between club and player regarding the contract situation…

If Salah does pen a four-year extension, on say, £300k/week wages – that’s a commitment from Liverpool of £62m over four-years.

It’s big money, and the kind that would stop the club from signing a player on a similar transfer fee, but it’s worth it.

With Salah, you know what you’re going to get. He’s always fit. He’s always scoring and his body is showing absolutely zero signs of letting up.

£62m doesn’t even buy you a guaranteed success nowadays. Just look at Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe or Chelsea’s Kepa… But if £62m confirms you four more years of Mo Salah – that’s about as close to a guarantee as you can get.

That’s why, if it were offered to me now, I’d happily take a Salah renewal before the end of the window with no other arrivals. Another backup attacker would be fun, but let’s get Salah done first. That’s the priority. He’s the man who will spearhead our hopeful title charges until the middle of the decade.

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