Mohamed Salah would be a huge loss – but Liverpool cannot cave to his childish agent

The Reds need to keep their star attacker – but have a wage structure and group mentality to protect. Daniel Zambartas analyses the situation.

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As much as many Liverpool fans – quite reasonably – want the club to give Mohamed Salah whatever he wants to get him to sign a new contract, it is not as simple as that.

Before going any further, it should be said that Salah is probably one of the best (some would argue the best) players in world football, and it is of course vital to Liverpool that he signs a new contract.

The Reds should be doing almost everything they can to get him on a new deal – however, they must draw the line at destroying the wage structure within the club in doing so.

Seemingly, that is what is happening right now. Consequently, Salah’s agent, Ramy Abbas Issa, has resorted to acting like a 12-year-old troll on Twitter.

In response to Jürgen Klopp claiming Liverpool “cannot do much more”, Issa tweeted a series of laughing emojis – something you would expect from a fake account run by a child. Not a professional, supposedly serious football agent, and a grown man.

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It is concerning that Issa may be making the same mistake that the agents of Emre Can, Gini Wijnaldum, Phillipe Coutinho, and even Bobby Duncan made – the assumption that their player should move to a different club simply because they will earn more money.

Of course, Wijnaldum has a much higher salary at PSG, but is he enjoying his time there, being paid to sit on the bench every week? Is he happy he made the move, especially now they have been eliminated from the Champions League? It depends on what a player really wants and what motivates them.

It is hard to believe that Salah, who came from almost nothing in Egypt, who used to take a five-hour bus journey to and from training, is that kind of player. He is largely unassuming and tends to shy away from the glare of the media spotlight.


Salah prefers instead to do his talking on the pitch under the illumination of the floodlights, unlike a number of other more ostentatious and egotistical players – none of whom play for Liverpool – who place as much importance on the player’s personality as their technical ability.

The Egyptian comes across as someone who is very much down to earth, and maybe in this case, too nice. There is a possibility that this is more a case of what his agent wants than what he wants.

If this was the case, and Salah and his agent are demanding that he earns twice as much as any of the other players, for example, Liverpool cannot simply agree – no matter how good he is.

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If they were to agree, who is to say other crucial players in the squad, like Virgil van Dijk, Alisson, Fabinho, Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota and Thiago Alcantara – amongst many others – are not going to speak to their agents and demand wages of a similar value?

It could be argued that Salah is the most important player in the squad, therefore he deserves the most. And yes, he is probably up there with van Dijk (who earns the most as of now) as the most important and perhaps irreplaceable members in the team.

Salah has every right to demand to be the highest earner on the books at Anfield. Liverpool should be offering him that, and James Pearce has confirmed that they are. He will go down as one of the greatest in Liverpool’s history.


It then becomes a matter of margins – to what degree is he demanding to be the highest earner? While there is not too much point speculating, as this is unknown information, going by the fact an agreement does not seem close, it may be around the mark of twice as much as van Dijk. It is too simplistic to say, ‘just pay it’.

It sends the wrong message to the rest of the squad – one that has achieved so much success and continues to be successful largely due to the closeness and togetherness that exists between the players.

Mess around with the wage structure and create tensions around the squad, and you jeopardise the unity that puts Liverpool Football Club a cut above the rest. While Manchester City can afford to pay multiple players above £250,000 a week, Liverpool cannot. That does not mean we cannot compete.

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If Liverpool agreed to pay Salah twice as much as anyone else in the squad, they would have to increase everyone else’s wages. The fact that the Reds are not prepared to do this and have not followed this road under FSG has been fundamental towards the club’s financial stability and consequent success.

Offer Salah ridiculous wages, and the rest of the squad could leave, or at the very least, become very unhappy and lose focus. The mentality will suffer. It is not worth breaking the wage structure that has been a major part of the club’s success, to offer a player the contract that they want. No player is worth that, because no player is bigger or more important than the club.

As much hate as FSG get, they have handled the club well financially. Many did not believe Klopp when he said he was happy with the squad and did not feel any additions were necessary.


With a trophy, and still three to play for, it is now clear that the manager meant it. The signing of Luis Díaz has further proved that reasonable money will be spent on a player if Klopp feels he will be a great fit.

Encouraging reports came out over the weekend which suggested a deal to keep Salah around is close to being struck. Of course we want those reports to be accurate, but if they are then hopefully the breakthrough has not come in the form of Liverpool overstretching themselves in terms of wages.

Just over 10 years ago, Liverpool were on the brink of administration under Tom Hicks and George Gillett. The Reds have come a long way since then, but if a player is expecting some of the highest wages in world football, they are at the wrong club. Break the wage structure, and we may see the club in a similar state to where it was under the previous owners.

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Daniel Zambartas

Journalism student at Liverpool John Moores University

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