Mohamed Salah’s interview with AS was a worrying one for Liverpool fans.
Speaking to the Spanish publication, Salah did not entirely distance himself from a move to Real Madrid or Barcelona. Now an interview with Salah’s Egypt teammate Mohamed Aboutrika has really opened the flood gates. He claimed Salah is angry at not being named captain in the Reds recent match against Midtjylland.
Of course, the idea of Salah leaving is a scary one for Liverpool fans. The Egyptian has been Liverpool’s top scorer for the season so far. However, the Reds are in a different position to when previous stars left for pastures new. Now with Klopp at the helm, Liverpool is an attractive proposition to any potential replacements.
However, replacing Salah will be a virtually impossible task. Able to operate from the right or as a striker, his versatility is key to the Reds. He holds the record for the highest number of goals in a 38-game season. He’s also a leader in the Reds squad, a senior figure who can win games by himself.
Outside of his efficiency as a player is his marketability. One of the most famous Africans in the world, he is a hugely marketable asset even outside of his playing ability. All of this, however, comes at a price. Liverpool signed Salah for a reported £37.8 million fee. The Reds would be well within their rights to ask for more than quadruple that for their best attacker. Only a few clubs in the world could afford him.
Manchester City and United could afford him, but of course, Liverpool would never sell him to a rival. Real Madrid and Barcelona would be natural destinations of course, but given their financial issues, it’s hard to know if they could afford him. Paris Saint Germain could, but there are no concrete links.
If indeed he does go, Liverpool are in a treacherous position. Having hundreds of millions of pounds in your pocket can be a poisoned chalice however, as Barcelona found after the sale of Neymar. With fees being public, as soon as a transfer of this magnitude goes through, the future bargaining power of the seller is hugely reduced. Teams will know the desperation of Liverpool to replace Salah and will wring every last penny they can from the Champions.
Then of course, you have the other part of the question. Who do you get to replace him? Only a few could even feasibly get close. Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo are all obviously unattainable. Neymar doesn’t suit the pressing style of Liverpool, and his injury history makes it hard to see Liverpool spending what would be needed to get him out of Paris.
Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho have also been linked. With Mbappe, his transfer fee would surely be a world record. Touted as the heir to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, he is the true jewel in PSG’s crown. Until his contract runs out, it’s hard to see PSG letting him go.
Erling Haaland is completely different in terms of style. A brilliant finisher, he is a pure striker and a brilliant one at that. He also reportedly has a release clause of £68 activating in 2022, but this has been denied by Borussia Dortmund. There’s also the issue that Haaland can’t replace Salah’s spot on the right-wing.
Finally, there’s Jadon Sancho. The young Englishman has been in poor form this season, but his talent is beyond question. Also able to play across the front line, he’s more than versatile enough to operate in Liverpool’s front three. There’s also the bonus that his contract expires in 2023. However, asking him to come in and replace Salah at his age, would be a huge, almost insurmountable task.