Jamie Carragher says he is “delighted” Mohamed Salah has signed a new three-year contract and Liverpool were right to pay the forward big money to stay at Anfield.
There was speculation the Egyptian could leave the Reds next summer, with his previous contract having just one year left to run. However, he has now put pen to paper on a deal which will see him earn in excess of £350,000 a week through to 2025.
Liverpool have a carefully managed wage structure but with forwards Sadio Mane and Divock Origi departing, Sky Sports pundit Carragher believes his former club have used the freed-up money wisely by making Salah the highest-paid player in the club’s history.
Asked if his reaction to Friday’s news was relief or elation, Carragher told Sky Sports News: “A bit of both.
“Losing Mane, it was sad to see that front three break up. Lots of Liverpool fans over the last few months were kind of resigned to the fact that Salah might see out the last 12 months of his contract and then move on. And perhaps the club were not maybe prepared to go the numbers he wanted or he felt he deserved and he would leave the club.
“But I think the fact that Origi has moved on and Mane has moved on and Liverpool have brought in maybe one attacking player who is on similar sorts of wages [in Darwin Nunez]. I think the fact that two have gone and one has come in means that they could maybe get closer to the numbers Salah wanted.
“I think everyone is just delighted Salah has signed and fingers crossed he produces over the next three years what he has produced over the last five years and I am sure that he can.
“Maybe money [was the main factor in negotiations]. There is nothing wrong with that. Salah has been as good as anybody in the Premier League or anyone in European football, certainly in his position, and he’ll feel he deserves to be paid as well as those. And we know the types of numbers other players get at other clubs.
“Liverpool have never really gone to that level in terms of numbers, certainly under FSG – and I think that a lot of Liverpool fans respect that model because it has brought a lot of success to the club so they almost accept how they go about things not just with player contracts but also with signing players.
“I don’t think there would have been much criticism if Salah had left. But I think now and again when you have someone as special as Salah the rule that you have to have in place you have to certainly bend them, maybe not necessarily break them but you have to maybe go closer to a position that maybe you don’t want to.”
Carragher says Salah already has legendary status at Liverpool but is hopeful that the 30-year-old will continue to deliver the same levels of performance he has in recent seasons during the course of the next three years.
“The way he looks after himself, I think he can be like a Cristiano Ronaldo, still getting goals in the Premier League,” said Carragher.
“The way Salah leads his life, I think there is a good chance over the next three years you will see no sort of drop-off in terms of his numbers.
“Salah is already a Liverpool legend and if he’d moved on in 12 months he’d have still been a legend. What players like him, Alisson, Van Dijk, Mane, how they’ve changed the face of Liverpool Football Club along with the manager means they will all be legends no matter when they move on for the club and for whatever reason they move on from the club.
“I think the supporters are very thankful for what these players have given. Salah will finish his time in the top five or six players ever to have played for the club. He’s certainly in Liverpool’s best-ever XI and there’s no doubt that right now he’s a Liverpool legend and hopefully he can enhance that reputation over the next three years.”
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