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EPL 2021, Mohamed Salah contract, Liverpool FC, fixtures, PL table, latest news, Jamie Carragher, Jurgen Klopp

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Mo Salah’s sublime goal was just the peak of a magical performance against Manchester City – and proved once again that he’s arguably the most important player for the Reds, if not the best player in the world right now.

“I don’t think there’s anyone playing better in the world or in Europe at the moment,” Liverpool great Jamie Carragher declared on Sky Sports. “His record at the start of this season has been absolutely outstanding.

“You can never really question him for what he’s done at Liverpool – if at all – but right now is as probably as sharp and as good as I’ve ever seen him.”

But while Salah’s blistering speed saw him slalom past City defenders on the weekend, his negotiations with the club over a contract extension are progressing at snail’s pace.

Liverpool faces a $145.5m quandary over whether they should smash their wage structure to keep Salah – and there are precious few signs that the contract impasse will be resolved any time soon.

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Salah already has nine goals and three assists in nine games this season, including goals in seven-straight games in all competitions to equal his personal record at the Reds. He now boasts 135 goals and 43 assists in 212 Liverpool appearances, having hardly ever missed a game through injury. And all that for a right winger, not a genuine striker.

It is nothing short of incredible.

At 29, the two-time Premier League golden boot winner believes he is at the peak of his career and can continue performing at his immaculate level for years to come. But the club is worried about overpaying and the exacerbated risk of a long-term deal, should injuries strike or his form tail off.

His current contract, which expires at the end of the 2022-23 season when the Egyptian will be 31 years old, pockets him £200,000 per week – equal second in the club behind Virgil van Dijk on £220,000. Salah is reportedly asking for similar wages to City duo Kevin De Bruyne (reportedly £380,000 a week) and Jack Grealish (£300,000 per week). Cristiano Ronaldo, for comparison, is on similar wages to the league’s highest-earner De Bruyne once bonuses are factored in.

Some reports have named Salah’s asking price as £400,000 per week, or $750,000 AUD. From now until the end of the 2024-25 campaign – a two-year extension to his current deal – that would equate to a staggering $145.5 million.

While Salah and de Bruyne are genuine world-class stars in their own right, there is plenty to argue that the Reds star is worthy of a contract on par with City’s star. Since Salah arrived at Liverpool, he has featured in 212 games in all competitions. De Bruyne has played 179 times in that time. The Liverpool man has played 32 more times in the league. The Liverpool’s fitness and consistency have been elite – he almost always plays, scores, and plays a major role in bringing homes for trophies to Anfield.

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One of Liverpool’s biggest qualms over locking in a fresh four-year deal for their star man is down to his age. But De Bruyne is marginally older, having just turned 30. And Salah – a consummate professional – appears likely to follow in the footsteps of Ronaldo and maintain his incredible physique well into the thirties. Ronaldo is 36, even if his efforts on the pitch don’t show it.

Liverpool have shown themselves willing to back players well into their thirties.

In recent months, Liverpool have handed upgraded contracts to a host of players including Jordan Henderson (31), van Dijk (30), Alisson Becker (29). Henderson and van Dijk will be at the club until the end of the 2024-25 season – when they’ll be touching 35 and 34 respectively. Alisson’s runs until the end of the ‘26-27 campaign when he’ll also be 34.

And 35-year-old James Milner – one of the Premier League’s greatest free transfers of all time – is still more than capable of matching it with the best in the competition whenever (and in whichever position) he gets thrown into the fray for the Reds.

Sure, they’re different positions, and forwards’ form can nosedive if they lose that extra turn of pace. But Salah is apparently only seeking for a two-year contract extension on his current deal, which will see his contract expire at the same time as Henderson and van Dijk. Salah would then be 33 years old. If anything, he might just have a few more years competing at the top level – and keep his value high enough for the Reds to recoup a fair portion of the £36.9 million they paid for Salah in 2017.

As Jamie Carragher wrote in a column last week, if Salah continues at his current pace through the 2024-25 season then his scoring record will be right up there among Liverpool’s greatest.

“Should he stay for another four years, Salah will be close to matching (Roger) Hunt’s 285 for the club, only (Ian) Rush above him in the all-time goalscoring list. These are insanely impressive numbers for someone who does not play as a central striker.”

But with less than two years left on his current contract, Liverpool would have to sell Salah at the end of the current season or risk losing him for free when his contract expires. That would be a disastrous outcome – especially for the ever-careful bean counters at Liverpool, given Salah’s value would be cut if contract negotiations fail and teams know the Reds are looking to cash in on a transfer.

It is the financial aspect of the deal that is most worrying to Liverpool’s hierarchy, not Salah’s age. The key stalling point in the negotiations is due to the club’s wage structure being vastly different to City’s, despite the Reds wage bill falling just behind the Manchester club’s as the Premier League’s two highest salary-size organisations.

Liverpool has a largely equitable wage structure, with most of the first time pocketing similar figures. City, on the other hand, have no qualms paying key figures well above the rest.

To nearly double Salah’s wages in order to match De Bruyne’s salary, Liverpool owners FSG would essentially be blowing up a wage structure that has been in place for the best part of a decade. They didn’t budge for Philippe Coutinho or Luis Suarez. But Salah is on another level to that duo.

(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

As coach Jurgen Klopp told BBC Radio 5Live after the game, Salah’s goal was: “pure world class, what a player. He set up the first goal as well for Sadio and it was great goal as well.”

In his post-match press conference, Klopp added: “this club never forgets anything and people will talk about this goal for a long, long time and in 56 years when they still remember this game.”

In his column Carragher wrote: “Occasionally, we must take more pleasure from those in the modern era who are so freakishly good, they deserve to be spoken about as reverentially as the greats of the past.

“Mohamed Salah is such a footballer. If anyone assembles an all-time greatest Liverpool XI, Salah’s name must now be in it.”

Salah is not only arguably the best player in the world right now, as Carragher believes. He’s also a seminal talent, a Liverpool legend who must be treasured now by the club as he surely will be revered in the decades to come.

Yes, blowing up their salary system could backfire in a huge way should Salah be injured or fall off his extremely high level. It could also cost them in the future when stars tread in Salah’s footsteps to the negotiating table.

But if Liverpool don’t bite the bullet, there are plenty of other teams who will look to poach one of the world’s best players on a cut-price transfer fee as his contract runs down. And for the Reds, losing their talismanic attacker would far outweigh all the pennies they’d save.

Salah offers immense value to the club – and not just in prize money with the trophies he’s won, or his shirt sales, or even his popularity in the football world and its lucrative sponsorship and fan marketplace. He also helps to attract the world’s top players to sign on the dotted line at Anfield, something which can hardly be measured in dollars and cents.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Carragher delivered a clear message to his former club, saying on Sky Sports: “Liverpool cannot afford to let his contract situation drag on, with the threat they could lose him in the next two years.

“This is a guy who really looks after himself, and you can see that when he takes his top off when he scores a goal. This lad’s got a lot in him as he goes into his 30s.”

The only question is whether that will be in Liverpool red.

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Cristiano Ronaldo could outlast seven Man Utd players despite only signing two-year deal

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Cristiano Ronaldo could be 39 years old by the time he leaves Manchester United once and for all…

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Football news, Barcelona, debts, transfers, Lionel Messi, Joan Laporta, latest, update

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Barcelona chief executive Ferran Reverter said Wednesday the club was “technically bankrupt” when Joan Laporta took over as president in March, and would have been “dissolved” if it was a public limited company.

The Spanish giant’s financial woes were laid bare in August when they were forced to allow Lionel Messi to join Paris Saint-Germain after admitting they could no longer afford to keep the six-time world player of the year.

The new board inherited debts of 1.35 billion euros ($2.14 billion) and a bloated first-team payroll as Laporta returned for a second spell as president following the resignation of Josep Maria Bartomeu.

“If the club had been a PLC (public limited company) it would have been dissolved,” Reverter revealed during a news conference in which he outlined the results of an audit carried out by accountancy group Deloitte.

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(Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)
(Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)Source: AFP

“In March 2021, we were in a situation of technical bankruptcy, but as a sports association we were able to refinance the debt,” explained Reverter, revealing the club had “difficulties in paying salaries” due to “almost zero cash flow”.

To tide the club over in the short term, officials took out a temporary loan of 80 million euros ($92 million) “to cover the treasury obligations for a period of 90 days”, and refinanced a debt of 595 million euros.

Barcelona have confirmed losses of 481 million euros for last season, which was even higher than the club anticipated.

According to Reverter, the audit, which studied the club’s finances from 2018/19 until March 2021, showed there had been “serious administrative deficiencies” and that directors “bought players by being disconnected from reality”.

Bartomeu was forced to resign in October last year following mounting pressure from fans and his public falling-out with Messi over the Argentine’s wish to leave the club.

“When they were signing players nobody considered if they could pay for them. The same night that (Antoine) Griezmann was signed, they realised that there was no money for him, and they had to ask for more funds.”

Griezmann left to re-join Atletico Madrid on loan at the start of this season. Between 2016 and 2020, Barca’s wage bill soared by 61 per cent, rising from 471 million euros to 759 million euros, Reverter added. The total has since been slashed by 155 million by the new management.

Reverter also pointed out the unusually high rates of commissions paid to intermediaries involved in player transfers of “between 20 and 30 per cent”.

Yet despite the club’s financial struggles, Barca hope to finish this season with a profit of five million euros.

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Newcastle owners must deliver No 1 priority before £200m transfers or new manager

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Newcastle are set for big changes in 2022 with many expecting a flurry of high-priced transfers.

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