Jamie Carragher has urged Liverpool chiefs to treat Mohamed Salah like the “exceptional player” he is by tearing up their wage structure to hand him a new contract.
Salah, 29, has been locked in negotiations over a new deal at Anfield for some months, with manager Jurgen Klopp admitting in mid-September there had been little progress.
As exclusively reported by Mirror Sport last month, the Egyptian forward is targeting a new contract worth an eye-watering £500,000 per week if he is to extend his stay beyond 2023.
This would make Salah the Reds’ highest earner by a huge margin, with Virgil van Dijk currently holding that status thanks to his £220,000-per-week deal.
Action Images via Reuters)
The Liverpool hierarchy are loath to deviate from their carefully-calculated wage structure, especially as Salah will turn 30 next June.
But Anfield legend Carragher insists the former Roma and Chelsea star has plenty of years remaining at the top of his game, citing the examples of 36-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo and 34-year-old Lionel Messi.
“There will be a calculation that if his level significantly drops after he turns 30, the club might be stuck with a high earner who is draining resources,” Carragher told the Daily Telegraph .
“My counter-argument is that exceptional players warrant being treated as an exception.
“Everything about Salah suggests that unless he suffers serious injury he is in such perfect physical shape and such a professional on and off the pitch, he will still be producing until he is 33, and probably for a couple of years beyond that.
“Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are an inspiration to their peers, showing how the early 30s are no barrier to enduring excellence.”
Carragher doubles down
Carragher also praised Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) for their brilliant recruitment in recent seasons, naming Virgil van Dijk and Alisson as two signings who elevated the Reds to Champions League and Premier League glory.
But he also had a challenge for FSG, adding: “Surely once you have helped nurture one of the world’s best – and made him a positive global symbol of your club – you want to cherish that and channel resources to keep him for all of his peak, goalscoring years?”
This is not the first time Carragher has urged Liverpool to fork out above their regular outlay to ensure they do not lose Salah on a free transfer in the summer of 2023.
“You see some of the revenue that some of the players are getting and good luck to them,” the former England centre-back told Sky Sports in mid-September.
“He (Salah) deserves that and hopefully it gets sorted as I think he still has another three or four years in him.”
Does Salah justify a huge contract?
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Salah’s goalscoring numbers have been truly phenomenal since he joined Liverpool from Roma for £34million in the summer of 2017.
The former Basel winger became the fastest player to reach 100 Premier League goals for the Reds in the 3-3 draw with Brentford last weekend.
Salah then made it eight goals in as many games this season by scoring twice in Tuesday’s 5-1 drubbing of Porto in the Champions League.
His latest double took his tally for Liverpool to 133 goals in 211 games, while he has also chipped in with 49 assists in that time.
Salah has even scored more goals in the Champions League than Messi since he joined Liverpool, reaffirming his status as one of the greatest players in Europe.
However, handing him a lucrative contract far beyond what any other member of Liverpool’s glittering squad earns certainly comes with an element of risk.
Anfield chiefs must weigh up if they will risk disharmony in the dressing room and a potential decline in numbers as Salah grows older as they ponder bowing to his demands.