Salah-brations | 

I'm surprised but absolutely delighted that Salah has signed his new deal

Signing on the dotted line has elevated Mo to the ranks of the Anfield legends
Mohamed Salah putting pen to paper on the deal that ties him to the club for three more years and has delighted fans

Mohamed Salah putting pen to paper on the deal that ties him to the club for three more years and has delighted fans© Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Erling Haaland is certain to be on £500,000-a-week at Manchester City

Erling Haaland is certain to be on £500,000-a-week at Manchester City© PA

John AldridgeSunday World

THE moment he signed his new contract on Friday, Mohamed Salah elevated himself to a whole new level among the ranks of Liverpool legends.

I have to admit I didn’t see this news coming, as it seemed that Salah was intent on running down his contract and getting a lucrative free transfer away from Liverpool next summer.

Then, from nowhere, the announcement came on Friday afternoon that he was staying and it might just be the signing of the summer.

To replace a player of Salah’s quality, Liverpool would have been looking at an investment of in excess of £100million when you include wages and transfer fees.

This is why I was of the opinion that the club would have been wise to hand the Egyptian a huge ‘signing on fee’ to stay at Liverpool and then give him the pay rise he is due.

It might seem obscene to hand a player £30million to stay at a club, but if it’s going to cost more than three times that amount to replace him, then it makes good business sense.

Erling Haaland is certain to be on £500,000-a-week at Manchester City, so Salah had every right to ask for the same amount to stay at Liverpool.

In addition, signing Salah to a new contract means the club could sell him for a huge fee if he decided he wanted to leave in a couple of years, so they are protecting the value of a huge asset.

Whatever deal both parties have signed up for, this is great news for Liverpool and the fans who love Salah.

He was already a Liverpool great after his magical performances over the last few years, but now he has a chance to joint the Anfield icons like Ian Rush and Roger Hunt.

Salah has a chance to go chasing after their goal-scoring records now and while his long-time strike partner Sadio Mane walked away from the chance to cement his status as a Liverpool legend he moved to Bayern Munich, Salah is now on a different level.

The hope now is that he will start the new season as the Mo of old, the goal scoring machine who is impossible to stop when he is at his best.

That was the player we saw in the first half of last season, with his incredible goal against Manchester City at Anfield last season highlighting his class in glorious fashion.

That version of Salah was missing after Christmas last year, as he went on long runs without scoring and wasn’t even influencing matches during that period.

Erling Haaland is certain to be on £500,000-a-week at Manchester City

Erling Haaland is certain to be on £500,000-a-week at Manchester City© PA

I wondered whether that was down to his contract stand-off with the club, as we have seen so many players down the years who have had their heads turned by the prospect of a big-money move and lose their focus.

It looked like Salah had fallen into that hole and some Liverpool fans were wondering whether he would ever be fully committed to the cause again. Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez have been signed in recent months and they were starting to look like replacements for Salah and Mane, but not anymore.

The main man is staying and if he can score 30 goals next season and have Nunez chipping in with 20 and Diaz scoring 15, Liverpool will be back in trophy contention.

Another point I want to make here is I loved the way this was announced on Friday without anyone getting a hint it was imminent. This was the Liverpool of old, as the club got on with its business behind the scenes and got the news out when it was all done and dusted.

When the previous owner were in charge, all the transfer talk was conducted through their pals in the media and everything leaked.

The same was true in the first couple of years after the Fenway Sports Group took over at Liverpool, with Virgil van Dijk transfer an example of a deal that nearly fell through after it was leaked in the media and Southampton complained to the Premier League that their player had been tapped up.

Since then, Liverpool have learned their lesson and done things in a very different way, with no one getting a hint this Salah contract announcement was coming until it popped up on the club’s social media feeds.

That’s how it should be done at the highest level of sport and when you look up the road at Manchester United, you can see the opposite approach. Their players seem to leak every fine detail of contract talks and dressing room bust-ups and the end result has been a toxic atmosphere that is not going to work for anyone.

Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool have a very different approach and it has helped to create a team spirit that has taken the club to a position where they are probably one of the best two teams in European football.

The trouble is, the other team in question is a domestic rival and while Manchester City have undoubtedly been strengthened by signing Haaland, Pep Guardiola and his players will look at Liverpool keeping Salah and they won’t like it.

Nunez could be a great signing for Liverpool, and Diaz is showing signs that he might be a massive hit at Anfield.

But nailing Salah down to a new contract ensures there is no need to add anyone else to the forward line in the near future as the player staying is better than anyone they could have signed.

I can’t imagine why anyone would want to walk away from the chance to play for the best manager in the world and in this great Liverpool team. Clearly, Mo Salah agrees with me.


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