Michael Owen believes Liverpool have a big decision to make over Mohamed Salah. He warns that they could end up like Arsenal.
Mohamed Salah and Liverpool have some fairly intense contract negotiations coming up. The Egyptian remains the star forward at Anfield but what does it cost to keep him?
The instinct is that Liverpool should pay whatever it takes, of course, but they have to consider his age. Salah turns 30 at the end of the season – is a big-money five-year contract sensible? That depends on how long he can go for.
And perhaps Liverpool and Salah differ on that. This is the Egyptian’s last major contract, after all, and he’ll want it to be substantial.
It’s a delicate situation, then, and one that Michael Owen could see becoming problematic. Just look at Arsenal, he warns.
Owen on Salah
“From a club’s point of view, I know everyone’s going to say, ‘give him what he wants’, but you don’t really want your club doing that”, Owen told BT Sport after Liverpool faced AC Milan.
“You have to have a bit of structure. All of a sudden if you give him double what [Virgil] Van Dijk’s on, you get a problem again.
“At Arsenal, [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang’s just been given what he wanted and now look. It’s his last big contract, he’s not going to move now, and he’s on whatever he’s on a week.
“It’s not as easy as that, I think you’ve got to keep a little bit of respect, a nice parity within the club as well.”
Owen is pointing to the fact that Aubameyang hasn’t been prolific since agreeing his new contract.
Arsenal handed him a deal last year worth around £350k-a-week, including loyalty bonuses (per the Times). Aubameyang followed that with a 10-goal season, however – his worst return for a decade.
And at 32, there’s a real worry that the player won’t easily turn it around. There’s another two years on the deal, including this one, and that’s a lot of money for little return.
Now, there’s no suggestion that Salah would suffer a similar dip anytime soon. But then, there wasn’t much of a sign that Aubameyang would. Liverpool will have that in mind with any offer to their talisman.
Owen is right – they’ve got to make the smart move with Salah. It isn’t 100% clear what that is.