Mohamed Salah is in contract negotiations with Liverpool, with just 18 months left on his current deal.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has appeared relatively calm about the situation, saying this week: “What we all want is clear… and things like this take time.”
But what are the key factors at play from the perspective of the club and the player? And what needs to be done for the extension to happen?
Sky Sports News reporter Vinny O’Connor, who covers the club closely, explains the situation…
Salah is still ambitious
First and foremost this is not just about money. Salah is still ambitious, with his hunger to win undiminished.
At some point this is a Liverpool squad that will need refreshing. Roberto Firmino is now 30 years of age, Sadio Mane is 29, Jordan Henderson is 31, Thiago Alcantara is 30, Virgil van Dijk is 30, and Fabinho is 28.
Salah will want to see that there’s a continued commitment from the club to add quality to what they have got, with the intention of maintaining Liverpool’s ability to challenge for titles.
Salah is now an all-time Liverpool great as a Premier League and Champions League winner. His goal against AC Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday night took his tally to 20 goals in 21 games in all competitions this season.
So, in terms of the wage he can command, his market value is as high as it has ever been.
He’s been labelled as the best player in the world on current form, yet currently, he’s reportedly the fifth highest-paid footballer globally.
He was top earner at Liverpool until Van Dijk signed his new contract. Now the figures being talked about around a new deal are in the region of £300,000 a week.
Salah’s current contract expires in 2023. It makes sense, at the age of 29, with this being potentially the biggest contract of his career, that he would want a deal that reflects his status in the game.
Salah wants to stay at Liverpool
At the same time, he wants to stay at Liverpool. He told Sky Sports in October he would like to spend the rest of his career at the club.
“If you ask me, I would love to stay until the last day of my football career, but I can’t say much about that – it’s not in my hands. It depends on what the club want, not on me,” he said.
He has a strong relationship with Jurgen Klopp and he’s settled in the Liverpool dressing room.
Even when linked with Barcelona, while flattered, he said he’s happy at Liverpool and at the moment prefers to stay in the Premier League as it is the strongest league in the world.
But there was a broad hint in that Sky Sports interview he needs to feel the love from the Liverpool hierarchy and he followed that up again this week.
In an interview with Egypt’s MBC Masr, Salah reiterated while he wants to extend his Anfield contract, Liverpool’s owners have an issue to solve.
“Your financial value shows how much the club appreciates you and that they are ready to do anything for you to stay,” he said.
When Jurgen Klopp was asked about this he responded: “Extending a contract with a player like Mo is not something where you meet for a cup of tea and find an agreement. That’s completely normal.
“Mo is fine, I am fine. What we all want is clear and things like this need time.”
There is goodwill on both sides to reach an agreement on a new contract.
Ideally, Liverpool would like to get this done before it gets to the stage where Salah goes into the final year of his current deal without securing his future beyond that.
Finding the right figure
From the club’s perspective, they need to find the magic figure that confirms Salah’s status among the elite of world football, while being mindful of their wage structure and not upsetting that.
They are also operating in a transfer market where the financial clout of Real Madrid and Barcelona has been drastically reduced, which in turn, reduces the chances of pushing up a potential transfer fee as high as possible if it looks as though an agreement is not going to be reached.
At the same time, with Salah’s contract running down, there is potential in the future for clubs to better the wage offer coming from Liverpool if it gets to the stage where he’s likely to be available on a free transfer.
Michael Edwards has got so much right in his time as the club’s sporting director, especially when it comes to tough negotiations.
Before he leaves in the summer, securing Salah’s long-term future at the club could be his biggest success of his time at Anfield.