Mohamed Salah has ended speculation about his Liverpool future by signing a new three-year contract worth an estimated £55million.
An 18-month contract impasse has ended with Salah becoming the highest paid player in Liverpool history with a salary in excess of £350,000 a week between now and 2025.
Salah has also agreed to several reward clauses which will see him earn more if he continues to score and create goals at the same astonishing rate which has propelled him to superstar status.
Salah is already the ninth leading goalscorer in the club’s history with 156 goals in 254 games. He could be in the top five by the end of next season.
Liverpool and Salah struck a deal after stepping up negotiations with director of football Julian Ward and Fenway Sports Group President Michael Gordon over the last two weeks.
Having sold Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich, it was an unpalatable prospect for Liverpool to lose Salah, too. But time was running out as Salah’s previous contract was due to expire next summer.
As recently as May, Salah openly said he would see out his deal rather than allow himself to be sold, but he never hid his preference to commit his peak years to Liverpool.
“It’s the best decision for us and best decision for him. He belongs with us I think. This is his club now,” said Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp.
“Of course it has taken a little time but that’s absolutely OK and the best things are always worth waiting for anyway. Mo is one of the best players in the world; it’s only normal there are things to sort when you are at his level. So big credit to Julian Ward and Mike Gordon for guiding us to this destination.
“I have no doubt Mo’s best years are still to come. And that’s saying something, because the first five seasons here have been the stuff of legend.
“Fitness-wise, he’s a machine – in the most incredible shape. He works hard on it and he gets his rewards. His ability and his skill level gets higher each season, and his decision-making has gone to another level also.
“He is adored by his team-mates. As coaches we know we work with someone special. And the supporters have crowned him a king. So, very cool.
“It is just great news. It makes me smile thinking about it. He stays with us for longer and it means we can achieve more together.”
Step aside Haaland and City - Liverpool have the most important signature of the summer
The pursuit of Mohamed Salah’s signature on a new Liverpool deal did not end in Anfield's legends’ suite but on the idyllic Greek Island of Mykonos.
It was there, where Salah is enjoying a family holiday, that a Liverpool delegation led by director of football Julian Ward resolved an 18-month contract impasse, negotiations accelerating over the last few days as both parties made the necessary compromises to ensure the unthinkable did not happen.
For Liverpool to lose one of their superstar strikers, Sadio Mane, this summer might be considered careless. To have lost Salah, too, in a year’s time would have been negligent.
The heart of the delay was, inevitably, about money.
From the outset, Salah wanted a deal befitting his superstar status. He saw Kevin De Bruyne earning £400,000 a week at Manchester City and - with some justification - felt he deserved a similar reward.
Liverpool made what they considered a ‘generous’ opening offer before the 2020/21 season - thought to be around £300,000 a week - and insisted they would only pay what was affordable. At the time they were in negotiations with other key players like Virgil van Dijk, Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Fabinho. All renewed with little fuss, although hesitancy in renewing skipper Jordan Henderson’s deal (eventually sorted in pre-season 2021 following a public intervention by Jurgen Klopp) offered a hint as to how complex negotiations can be when a player’s self-assessment of his value clashes with the board’s ‘moneyball’ calculations.
The most significant meeting between Fenway Sports Group’s President Michael Gordon and Salah’s representative, Ramy Abbas, was in Miami early in 2022.
Although there was no agreement, there was certainty that Salah wanted to stay and Liverpool wanted to keep him. After a year of flirting with La Liga’s biggest clubs, most notably Real Madrid, that was reassuring. As a basis for further talks, it meant that while some of the public messaging seemed downbeat, that contrasted with private, more optimistic expectations.
However, as the months passed the prospect of a Bosman deal edged closer. Salah would have been able to sign a pre-contract agreement with overseas clubs from January, and he made it known before the Champions League final he would leave for free if no deal was agreed. The deadline was becoming more pressing, with both sides willing to flirt with brinkmanship. Both will feel their approach vindicated.
Liverpool have been adept at taking the emotion out of contract decisions. Increasing the wages of Salah and Mane, with both players in their 30s, could have been considered an expensive risk. Replacing Mane with a player eight years his junior, Darwin Nunez, while rewarding Salah for his extraordinary feats maintains a healthy age balance while ensuring the squad’s salaries remain structured.
Although Liverpool would have extended Mane’s deal too had he wanted to stay, a resolution on Salah’s future so soon after the Senegalese’s sale to Bayern Munich cannot be coincidental. Divock Origi was also earning £100,000 a week before his contract expired on June 30. It is reasonable to presume that Liverpool saw the merit of diverting this salary straight into Salah’s wage packet. Liverpool will spend the rest of this summer reducing their wage bill with sales rather than making new purchases.
Certainly, these are all factors ensuring the funds were available to make Salah an offer he could not refuse. His new salary is in excess of £350,000 a week and he will earn more based on goals and assists between now and 2025. It is testimony to Salah’s confidence in his abilities that he has backed himself to meet lofty targets.
News of the deal brings relief as much as euphoria to Liverpool supporters, relishing seeing how the Egyptian links up with Nunez in the season ahead.
The enduring updates on Salah’s deal had become repetitive and distracting, most notably when they took the form of cryptic social media posts.
While supporters feared the worst, especially after Mane’s sale, Liverpool insiders felt Salah would find it impossible to walk away from the club where - fitness permitting - he will now continue to rewrite goal records, as pivotal to an evolving Liverpool attack as he was when in tandem with Mane and Roberto Firmino.
His presence guarantees goals and assists, and preserves an Anfield legacy that will see him recognised as a club icon alongside Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush and Steven Gerrard.
Step aside Erling Haaland and Manchester City. Liverpool have just secured the most important signature of the summer.