Mohamed Salah’s contract situation is a story that won’t go away until the Egyptian winger signs an extension. While the 29-year-old is on the best form of his life, Liverpool are likely concerned about breaking their carefully constructed wage structure with the wages he is sure to command.
According to former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock, Salah’s status as a global icon and the commercial boon that creates for the club offset the concerns that he won’t be able to live up to the wages he’s looking for over the life of the contract.
“From Liverpool’s point of view, the contract doesn’t just come down to what he’s producing on the pitch, you have to think of what he brings in revenue-wise,” said Warnock.
“People come to Anfield to watch him, he sells shirts around the world, he’s a global icon. That plays a part and I think Liverpool know there’s that side of it as well.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that he will sign a new contract.”
The biggest concern with Salah and a contract extension is his age. At 29, it’s reasonable to worry his production will drop off in the next few years, so a huge wage package could end up coming back to haunt Liverpool. However, Warnock thinks those fears are overblown.
“You have to look at his age but, now, the way players are looked after, the way they look after themselves, the facilities, you’re seeing the longevity increasing. You used to find players would get to 31, 32 and would have to drop down the leagues but you’re not seeing that now, players are able to compete at the highest level for longer.”
According to Warnock, Salah is even less likely to see an early decline because of how well he takes care of his body and because he doesn’t rely solely on his pace, which is often the first physical skill to go as players age.
“With Salah, you only have to look at the condition he’s in to know he’s a very professional guy who looks after himself. I think he will play at the top level for a long, long time because he’s got that burst of pace but he’s also got more to his game than that - the low center of gravity, the swerve, the movement.”
While Warnock seems to be extremely optimistic about the financial impact of Salah’s popularity and his chances of keeping up his production as he ages, he does make some very valid points about the longevity of players these days, especially those who take care of themselves as well as Mo.
With Salah’s technique and football intelligence, it’s not hard to imagine he could find a way to keep creating goals even after he starts to lose his pace. If he can do that, it’s entirely possible that he could retain much of his value even into his mid-30s, and a contract extension now, even if it’s bigger than LFC would prefer, could end up being a good deal.