Cristiano Ronaldo has set the example Mohamed Salah must follow if he’s to earn a new Liverpool contract this summer. The Egyptian’s deal expires in 2023.
Liverpool face a very tough decision this summer – should they re-sign Mohamed Salah long-term? The easy answer is ‘yes’, of course, but that doesn’t take into account his wages.
The Mirror claims Liverpool offered Salah around £400k per week, which gives an idea of the money we’re talking about. He turned that down, however, and the insinuation is that it’s less about the figure and more about how long he gets it for.
But Salah is turning 30 this summer. Liverpool won’t want to pay a 33 or 34-year-old player £400k each week as historically, you don’t get that kind of value back.
Salah is almost certainly confident that he can deliver that value even at those ages, though. That explains his position, anyway. And with that in mind, we think Cristiano Ronaldo has set an example here.
Mohamed Salah and his Liverpool future
Salah will almost certainly maintain his technical ability and his fitness levels well into his 30s. No one should doubt that and we don’t believe either is Liverpool’s concern.
One thing he won’t avoid, however, is losing his pace. That’s just inevitable – athletes in their 30s won’t be as fast as athletes in their 20s. Salah will slow down, even just a touch, over the next few years. At the very least, he won’t be able to put in the kind of sprinting he does now consistently in each game.
Yes, some of the world’s best players are comfortably into their 30s now – Luka Modric, Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema – but none rely on their pace.
That makes things difficult for Liverpool. They rely on their wingers to constantly run in behind at great pace, offering a counter-attacking threat and pinning teams back. We saw that in spectacular fashion at Anfield on Tuesday, in fact.
But Liverpool can’t rely on Salah doing that over the entirety of a four or five-year contract. And that’s where we think he should turn to Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo plays much more centrally now than he did in his prime. Maybe he’s not a striker every week but certainly provides that option more often than not and almost exclusively for Manchester United this season.
It’s a role that doesn’t necessarily need pace in behind. Ronaldo can focus on being a threat in the box, involving himself in build-up play deeper and allowing wingers to run off him. That’s the role Salah almost certainly needs to move to.
Fortunately, his record as a centre-forward is sensational at Liverpool. We fully believe Salah can gradually convert to a central position well as a long-term option. And he needs that to happen. The Reds can survive without pace in the middle but they need it out wide.
Salah simply won’t offer that by the end of a long-term contract. He’s got to find a new way to earn that massive wage.