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John Barnes has urged Liverpool to continue with their risky approach to a new Mohamed Salah contract and offered insight into the owners FSG’s thought process.
The Egyptian winger, 29, has taken his game to another level this season. Salah has at times been borderline unplayable, with his fascinating solo goals against Watford and Man City reminiscent of Lionel Messi in his prime.
Salah’s 27 goals and 10 assists across all tournaments, Liverpool have challenged for trophies on four fronts. And given the signings of Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota over the last 18 months, the front line of the Reds is once again the envy of Europe.
But like Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, Salah is out of contract in 2023. Each of the trio will be 30+ when next season rolls around, a fact that apparently makes the owners think about it.
With Diaz and Jota on the books, Liverpool now appear to be able to endure hits if one – or more – of their famous front three leaves.
Salah would no doubt be the biggest miss, but the progress of a new deal continues to work.
Liverpool must bow to Salah – Barnes right now
Salah told QG last month of his desire to stay at Anfield. However, various reports have suggested he is seeking a salary of at least £ 300,000 a week, with some businesses bringing the figure closer to £ 400,000.
Liverpool have operated wisely in the finance department in recent years. It has allowed them to go toe-to-toe with Man City despite spending a fraction of their net spending.
Now, via Expressen, Liverpool legend John Barnes has insisted the club is right not to bow to Salah’s demands right away. In his words, “the days of accepting any player’s demands are over.”
It only increases the chances that Salah will eventually walk away, but Barnes believes the player should also make a compromise given his advancing age. It may come in the form of Salah getting the salary he wants, but for a lower number of years.
Barnes said: “If Mohamed Salah wants a 10-year contract, it will take him until he is 40 years old and he wants £ 300,000 a week, should Liverpool really accept that? Of course not.
“Liverpool cannot accept every single contractual request; they are making the right decision [by not giving in]. They are simply looking at Salah’s age.
“They love Mo and they want him to stay. But there has to be a compromise on both sides. If he was 28 and wanted a five-year contract, then fair enough.
“The days of simply accepting a player’s contract claim are over.”
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Klopp goes against Fabrizio Romano’s demands
Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said that although he wants James Milner to stay and sign a new contract, no progress has yet been made in the negotiations.
The 36-year-old midfielder is on his way to the end of a fantastic career. However, he still has no plans to retire yet. In fact, Klopp confirmed this earlier this month there is “no chance” the Englishman retires in the summer.
Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano subsequently claimed that Liverpool have offered Milner a one-year contract offer.
However, Klopp took exceptions to such “misleading” reports in his program notes ahead of Wednesday’s win over Leeds United. The manager clarified that Milner “will continue to play” and hopefully for him at Anfield.
But he added (via Liverpool Echo): “It is not fair or right to conclude that an offer has been made, because I do not think it is fair to James.
“I know I usually do not go into so much detail about cases like this, but given how conscientious James is when it comes to not putting private things in the public domain, I wanted to make the actual position clear.
“As it should be, these things will be collected in private, and James will continue to do for us what he has done throughout my work with him.”
READ MORE: ‘It will not be long’ – Luis Diaz said he will reach Liverpool’s landmark ‘this season’ when injury warning sent