Mohamed Salah's Liverpool contract question and the answer that FSG must give
Pay him whatever it takes and get the deal done.
I know Liverpool aren’t owned by a nation state such as Abu Dhabi or by an oligarch like Roman Abramovich.
But as things stand, there are two paths they can go down and they lead in very different directions.
One goes left, into Arsene Wenger World, where people say, ‘We don’t care what the economics of football globally are telling us, we have a structure and we are going to live within our means.
‘We’ll have a strict wage bill, we won’t go above it and we’ll let some of our best players join rival clubs on the back of that if we have to’.
The other path goes right and takes them towards a place called Real Football Finances.
A real-world place in which Liverpool might not have the money of a Manchester City or Chelsea but in which they can occasionally make tactical exceptions to rules.
Look, most of you will know I believe wholeheartedly in sensible football finances, it has been a common thread in this column over the years.
Occasionally you have to think outside the box and, with Salah ticking off both club and Premier League records like confetti, he is definitely an exception-to-the-rule kind of player.
So if it takes £400,000 or £500,000 a week to keep him, whatever, then Liverpool must get their chief financial officer to sign it off and fast.
Once it is done and dusted, the smart thing will be to follow City’s lead over the announcement rather than going down the Manchester United path.
Liverpool must forget rap or piano-playing videos like those which greeted Paul Pogba’s return or the capture of Alexis Sanchez.
Instead do what City did when they effectively put out a headline of, ‘Kev Stays’, with a line underneath it saying, ‘We are delighted to announce that Kevin De Bruyne has signed a new long-term deal to remain at the club’.
No whistles, no bells, just cold, hard facts.
It sends a business-like message to the rest of the Premier League and doesn’t upset anyone in the dressing room.
Let’s say Liverpool sit Salah on a throne, deck him out in a long coat, and dub him the ‘King Of Egypt’, with money raining all around him.
I guarantee that in six months’ time, if he’s not doing the business and Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota are, that one of them goes to see his agent and says, ‘Where’s my video? Where’s my £400k a week?’
Because the second you put out a video like that one, everyone makes it their business to find out what someone is earning.
As opposed to De Bruyne, when no one is overly concerned by the amounts and no one is waiting for him to have a dip in form to get the hump.
Liverpool just need to get it done.
Because Salah is a world-class player and a world-class talent who, as we saw against Manchester City last weekend, still knows very well how to score world-class goals.