Mohamed Salah’s true price and the £150 million truth Saudi Arabia dislikes

Mohamed Salah’s true price and the £150 million truth Saudi Arabia dislikes

Previously, clubs hoping to keep their best players would have breathed a sigh of relief when the transfer window closed.

Liverpool signed Bayern Munich‘s 21-year-old Dutch midfielder Ryan Gravenberch on a five-year deal for £34.2m in the last hours of the summer.

Liverpool and other large clubs are usually predators in the market, but the Saudi Arabian Pro League’s four major teams’ aggressive spending in this summer transfer window, backed by the Gulf nation’s sovereign wealth fund and Newcastle United’s owners, has kept every possibility open.

SPL clubs have the best part of a week to continue to negotiate and raise the league’s profile as the Saudi government continues to change its worldview and diversify its revenue streams beyond oil and gas. The Saudi window closes on September 7.

Karim Benzema, Neymar, Riyad Mahrez, Gabri Veiga, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, and former Liverpool stars Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, and Roberto Firmino have all joined one of the big four clubs.

SPL will continue their summer splurge in the coming days, with Mohamed Salah at the top of the wishlist.

Liverpool rejected Al-Ittihad’s £150m offer for Salah, 31. The Reds are adamant that the Egyptian will not leave and consider the situation finished. This is football, and these are not normal times, so the infinite money of the PIF will likely test the Reds’ fortitude again before the September 7 deadline, with £200m projected.

There is a Liverpool figure that cannot be refused. Salah, who signed a new deal in the summer of 2022, remains the Reds’ most potent offensive weapon, but he will be 32 by next summer, and they will have to figure out how to find the next Salah, which will be difficult given his impact at Anfield.

For now, Liverpool are holding firm. Even while the £150m deal—£100m guaranteed and £50m in add-ons—may appear reasonable, there are financial and competitive reasons for doing so.

Liverpool are in the Europa League after placing fifth in 2022/23 the Premier League. At least return to the top four and qualify for the Champions League next season are the goals for this season. Being in European football’s most prestigious club competition is crucial to Liverpool’s commercial plan and growth. The Reds have won more than £100m in Champions League prize money and broadcast earnings for deep runs, £65/£70m more than for Europa League wins.

They need Salah, their most creative and talismanic player, to win the Champions League, so keeping him boosts their prospects. To lose him now, with no possibility to find a successor until January, would hinder their prospects of meeting their season goals.

The expanded ‘Swiss Model’ format of the Champions League from 2024 gives clubs more games, which means more prize money, broadcast revenue, matchday revenue, and commercial success through greater partner brand exposure, which gives them more leverage when negotiating commercial deals. Liverpool won’t want to miss out on next season’s competition.

If they pay a lot for Salah, the market will rise further. Liverpool will find that finding a replacement that can even come close to Salah’s ceiling will be very expensive in transfer fees, wages, and agent fees, much like the car market in recent years, where people were thrilled to see their cars’ values rise and sell them at a profit only to realize it now costs a lot more to replace them and unless they downgrade and pocket the cash, it is pointless. Liverpool have money and a sense of desperation to make a major statement, which will be reflected in their price, just how Chelsea’s careless spending has boosted their market.

Two things to consider. Then Salah realizes his athletic impact.

Liverpool is full of stars. Salah is their superstar. Besides football, he is one of the most famous athletes in the world. As the most recognized Muslim athlete, he gives Liverpool commercial leverage in multiple countries and territories, building brand awareness and attracting new fans in MENA and beyond.

Naturally, his star power fades with age. However, he is still exceptional, delivers, and will continue to do so for some time, and keeping him in Liverpool red has financial rewards, especially with the club’s global growth goals.

New generations are consuming football differently as it goes through another cycle of transformation. Success on the football is crucial, but so is having globally recognizable players who can attract new fans. Salah is one of the few who can. Liverpool has limited room to replicate that marketability, and it would cost over £150m.

The facts are plain for Liverpool and Saudi Arabia. Due to the possible loss of revenue from failing to make the Champions League, the time and cost of finding a successor, and the impact on the Reds’ brand building ambitions at a crucial time, the £150m can be viewed differently. It’s probably not enough.

That may sound ridiculous for a player who will earn less next summer when the SPL will try again. However, he will still be a £100m player for Liverpool, and if he helps them reach Champions League football and prepare ahead, it will make the transfer easier.

Liverpool and owners Fenway Sports Group realize Salah’s sale in this window is pointless. Given that all prospective costs have been baked in, the question will be how high and foolish the number becomes before it becomes a matter of having to financially.

Liverpool hold his registration, don’t want to sell him, and he doesn’t want to leave. He won’t stay at Anfield forever, but they need him financially and competitively.

Mohamed Salah’s true price and the £150 million truth Saudi Arabia dislikes