Should we take Messi's PSG move as a warning for Salah?
The Egyptian is currently free to leave Liverpool on a Bosman in 2023
The footballing world was rocked by news of Lionel Messi’s exit from Barcelona.
Despite the Catalans’ dire financial plight, there had always been something of an implicit assumption that the Argentine would remain part of the club’s fabric in perpetuity.
A switch to Paris St. Germain, one of the few outfits in world football that could genuinely afford his wages, sent shockwaves through the sport.
Having already secured other world-class talents on frees of the likes of Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum and Gianluigi Donarrumma - in perhaps one of the greatest windows of all time - a message of sorts has been sent to Europe.
We’d be remiss not to hand a passing mention to the two fingers shown to Financial Fair Play, already made a fool of by Manchester City’s spending spree but, importantly for Liverpool, Messi’s move to the French capital has fired one warning their way.
According to Jacob Leeks, writing for the Express, the Copa America-winner’s La Liga exit has provided us with a horrifying glimpse into Mohamed Salah’s potential future, with the Egypt international’s contract set to expire in 2023.
Being 29-years-old, there has already been some chatter of a similar variety to the kind that dogged Wijnaldum in his final year at Anfield.
Once his current terms expire, our Egyptian King will be 31 and, according to some, on a slippery slope away from his best playing days.
There are examples to back this up in football’s long history but who’s to say that’s necessarily a fair assumption with regard to the Egyptian?
As has been highlighted before, Mo takes impeccably good care of himself and could theoretically extend the best days of his career if he manages to adapt his game in line with what his body is capable of doing over the next four or five years.
We can understand Liverpool’s position on the matter; can we absolutely guarantee that the No.11 will continue playing to such a high standard well into his 30s?
Can we then justify ultimately breaking our wage structure?
If a report from Kevin Palmer at the Sunday World is to be taken as gospel, it would appear the powers that be at Anfield are indeed prepared to make a statement with their contract offers for Virgil van Dijk and Salah.
Now, here’s the thing.
If we’re prepared to accept that heavyweights like PSG and Real Madrid are happy to stick it out until 2023 when the former Roma man’s terms expire, we have to assume they’ll be prepared to fork out the necessary cash to capture his signature if a free transfer isn’t viable.
Top La Liga clubs like Madrid and Barcelona are, of course, in a bit of a mess financially, though we’d have to assume that some level of normality will be restored in a couple of years.
If the general consensus is that many a top side would be happy to take Mo off our hands in two years’ time, is it not worth protecting his value by putting him on fresh terms? At least until 2025, which would keep him at Liverpool until he turns 33.
If a move away from Merseyside is an attractive option to the forward in 2023, we can then at least recoup some significant funds given that any interested party will be forced to take into account the two years remaining on his contract.
Of course, we have to consider what Liverpool would stand to lose financially should he be handed significantly improved terms.
But even assuming that Salah was given a £300,000-a-week contract (close to what Wijnaldum now reportedly earns at PSG), Liverpool would have to secure a fee in excess of £31.2m in 2023 to make a profit on the wages spent between 2021-2023.
Taking into account Transfermarkt’s valuation of the Egyptian at £90m (a figure we deem to be significantly short of his real value), it’s hard to see Salah’s asking price dropping by a whopping £60m if he manages to keep his performance levels consistent for the next two years.
That’s all additionally assuming that we’d even want to part ways with our high-scoring forward by that point.
Of course, if sustainability remains the ruling principle at Anfield, it’s a possibility we’ll have to entertain.
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