Liverpool could have a tough choice to make this summer. star forward Mohammad Salah he has less than 18 months left on his reported £200,000-a-week contract; as he turns 30 in June, the club may have to let him go if they want to avoid losing him for free in 2023.
Salah is one of the best players in the Premier League and Liverpool won’t want to see him go, but they may have to make him England’s first-ever £500,000-a-week football player – a salary that would even top that from that of Manchester United Cristiano Ronaldowho earns £480,000 a week.
The Egypt international acknowledged GQ magazine recently: “I want to stay, but it’s not in my hands. It’s in their hands. They know what I want. I’m not asking for crazy stuff.” But Liverpool may have to start planning for a future without him if they can’t agree new terms.
The club’s recruitment in recent seasons has been spectacular, with the addition of a £37.5million winger in January. Luis Diaz the latest in a long line of top quality signings, while the 18-year-old return Harvey Elliot injury gives them more options. But who could the Reds turn to during the summer transfer window to replace Salah if they had to?
*All transfer assessments via transfer market
– O’Hanlon: Can Liverpool afford to let Salah go?
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Signed from Rennes for around £17million in the summer of 2020, the Brazilian winger adapted remarkably quickly to the Premier League and is already one of the most incisive attacking players in the league with his development continuing. to improve (especially since he has become a regular in his country. )
As an active and intense striker – Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa usually wants him to squeeze the right touchline and receive the ball high up the pitch – he would fit reasonably well into Jurgen Klopp’s tactical plans . Raphinha rarely takes breaks and strives to win the ball back quickly once her team loses possession (4.5 defensive challenges per game with a near 50% success rate are worth noting.)
Equipped with the candor of a traditional winger, he also has the vision and precision to set up teammates when he cuts the infield on his stronger left foot in the final third. It’s hard to see him consistently hitting more than 15 goals a season on current evidence, but he’s such an unrelenting threat with his desire to take on defenders (he averages an amazing six dribbles a game) that he would occupy the opposition much of the time. in the same way as Salah.
In an era dominated by inverted wingers, the Spain international tends to line up as a left-footed winger on the left. However, he likes to roam and often finds space to exploit in the final third, when he has even featured as a central attacking midfielder.
Quick and blessed with excellent dribbling, good balance and ball-carrying abilities, Oyarzabal’s standout feature is arguably his movement off the ball. Not only does this allow him to take clever positions, but he often gets there before opponents have figured out where he is going.
With eight goals to his name this season, he is on course to hit double figures for a fifth successive La Liga season and, as well as being a technically gifted player, he is also a hard worker, often trying to win the ball early or follow runners to help defensively.
Being a one-club player in his career to date, adapting to a new league could become a problem – and he’s probably a better finisher than a provider – but the 24-year-old has the attributes to succeed in a club with an even higher ranking than Real Sociedad.
With eight goals and 10 assists for West Ham in 25 games this season, Bowen’s form puts him on the verge of an England call-up and his future could hinge on his club’s ability to secure a League place. champions next season.
Although the fruits of this extraordinary spell were reaped by playing wide down the right, he is capable of playing any role in the final third and creates danger when he exploits space with his pace and smart running off the ball, while still a threat running behind defenders.
Bowen may never emulate Salah’s subtle finishing skills or instinctive imagination, but the former Hereford United and Hull City winger – a late bloomer who reached the Premier League the hard way – tends to to be a thorn in the opposition’s side and always offers industry, hard pressing and ball recoveries in all areas of the field.
Launching the 25-year-old as a direct replacement for the Egyptian could be a tall order, but Liverpool would have no worries keeping Bowen busy should they land him.
Stevie Nicol responds to recent comments by Mohamed Salah regarding his future at Liverpool.
While the Ajax winger is still finding his feet in European football, his development has been steady and this season he has won more challenges, lost fewer times, created more chances and faced defenders with more skills. more successful than during the last campaign.
His introduction to the senior Brazilian national team was also quite successful: although he competes with Raphinha for the wide position on the right and has not yet started a game, he gets minutes and even scores two goals coming off the bench.
Among the best at beating an opponent at the highest level in the European game (60% success rate, from 4.5 average attempts per game), Antony is extremely quick up front. His acceleration, combined with an innate unpredictability, makes him hard to read for defenders – although he’s still a little too reliant on his favored left foot. Along with his exquisite close control and technical ability, the Brazilian usually runs diagonally without the ball in an effort to pick it up in an advantageous position in the final third to deliver a precise, floating cross or find space to shoot at goal.
Let’s be clear: the Portuguese striker is by no means a typical Klopp player and his inclusion in this list comes with some caveats.
For starters, Felix is definitely better with the ball than without. Finding space for such a unique talent – who still wouldn’t come cheap, despite being reduced to a fringe player at Atletico this season – requires acceptance to let him focus on what he is good for. : create, play and open the game. through quick combinations, especially against deep opposition.
Although he is naturally right-footed and seems to prefer playing wide to the right or down the middle, Felix has such good contact with his left foot that he can float into field from the right with no problem (although his lack of defensive effort when playing wide may call for some tactical adjustments to prevent the Liverpool right-back from being too exposed.)
Although his preference is for quick and explosive strikers who never die, Klopp is undoubtedly among the best male managers in European football and what he could achieve with Felix in the squad is an intriguing thought, if not. necessarily realistic. The 22-year-old remains one of the most naturally talented players of his generation and, given some tactical flexibility, perhaps even as a ‘false No.9’, Felix certainly has the skills to replace a player of Salah’s stature.