BERGAMO, ITALY - Thursday, April 18, 2024: Liverpool;s Mohamed Salah lines-up before the UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg match between BC Atalanta and Liverpool FC at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia. Liverpool won 1-0 but Atalanta progress 3-1 on aggregate. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

What Mo Salah wants from new contract – and why Liverpool may still wait

It is easy to forget that there were many who thought Liverpool were mad for turning down ludicrous sums from Saudi Arabia for Mohamed Salah last summer.

Yet even as they fielded offers worth up to £150 million for the Egyptian, senior Anfield figures remained steadfast in their belief that there was value in delaying any decision on his future until the final year of his contract.

As we reach the climax of a campaign that has brought 24 goals, 13 assists, one League Cup and Champions League qualification, it would be fair to say that stance has been entirely vindicated.

Still, if last year’s call on the Reds’ star man was considered to be straightforward by the powers that be, then they would surely admit that the matter is a touch more complicated this time around.

This Is Anfield understands that the current expectation within the club is that Salah will stay put to help kickstart the Arne Slot era.

And any concerns that last weekend’s heated touchline spat with Jurgen Klopp might have changed things are wide of the mark, particularly as the German is departing this summer anyway.

What Salah wants – and Liverpool’s stance

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 23, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the first equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

But it would be unwise to suggest that an extended stay is entirely set in stone, not least because of the many variables outside Liverpool’s control that will come into play.

The first is that Salah is understood to want a contract extension of at least a year which, considering his £350,000-per-week wages and the hints of decline seen in recent weeks, is far from a formality.

For their part, Liverpool are open to the idea of waiting another year and letting a player who has served them so well depart on a free transfer, as has been the case for a number of stellar servants down the years.

Yet, if a new deal isn’t forthcoming, you wonder whether Salah might wish to leverage his as-yet-undiminished standing to seek greater contractual certainty elsewhere.

There is no question that the 31-year-old is keen to continue playing at the highest level for as long as possible, and considers himself more than capable of doing so.

The pull of Saudi Arabia

LINZ, AUSTRIA - Thursday, September 21, 2023: Liverpool's substitute Mohamed Salah on the bench before the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 1 game between LASK and Liverpool FC at the Raiffeisen Arena. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

But it will be interesting to see whether that resolve is tested once again by promises of untold riches in the Saudi Pro League.

It felt notable that, having initially ruled out a move on social media, Salah’s famously vocal agent, Ramy Abbas Issa, went quiet as the sums being offered by the Saudis ramped up towards the end of last summer’s window.

And if the Public Investment Fund’s commitment to overseeing a footballing revolution in the Middle East remains, then they will surely be back again to try everything to capture the sport’s leading Arab star this year.

As such, it would be unwise to take Liverpool’s confidence regarding Salah as the final word on his future, with so many external factors capable of throwing a spanner in the works in the months ahead.