Former England striker Darren Bent has discussed Mohamed Salah’s decision to extend his stay with Premier League side Liverpool.
The 30-year-old Egypt international ended transfer speculation on Friday after he penned a three-year extension at Anfield, with his previous deal due to expire at the end of next season.
Bent, who played for a host of clubs in England, among them, Ipswich Town, Charlton Athletic, Sunderland, and Tottenham Hotspur, has supported Liverpool's move to tie down the Pharaoh, insisting with Senegal international Sadio Mane leaving for Bayern Munich, it was “superb” for him to stay.
“They have chucked a load of money at him…but you’ve got to think about what this guy has done at Liverpool,” the 38-year-old said as quoted by talkSPORT.
“Salah has played 254 games, scoring 156 goals and with 63 assists – that record is incredible.
“From the moment he stepped foot in Liverpool he has been phenomenal, and I mean phenomenal. He has scored goals from the moment he turned up, broken records left, right and centre.
“They’ve just lost one of their best players in Mane and the players are probably feeling down about that, but then someone of Salah’s quality re-signs for the club, it’s superb. Well played the Liverpool board.”
Bent further explained why Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and their fan base should be delighted with Salah’s decision to stay for longer.
“I can only imagine for the players at Liverpool who know how important Mo Salah is, if you’re Jurgen Klopp and that fan base, they must be absolutely delighted with this. It will be a big boost for those players, and fantastic news for the Premier League as well,” Bent continued.
“His best years are not behind him, he is in his prime right now. He may be 30, but he is in supreme nick and is still top, top quality.”
Meanwhile, Bent, who was capped 13 times for England and scored four goals, has predicted Salah will score more than 20 Premier League goals in the new campaign.
“Next season he will score over 20 league goals again. He’s won the Golden Boot three times, he’s broken the record for goals in a Premier League season, the records just keep tumbling for the guy,” added Bent.
“Look at Salah’s numbers – they’re ridiculous. He got 32 goals in his first season, then 22 the next, then 19, 22 again, and he got 23 last season – and that’s just the Premier League, by the way!
“What are you supposed to do with those numbers? Phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal.”
With reports emerging that Salah will be paid £350,000 a week, Bent defended Liverpool for the pay rise.
“Yes, he’s now on £350,000-a-week, but if you want to keep competing with the likes of Man City you have to pay a premium to keep these players. Virgil van Dijk could be next, he’s up there,” Bent continued.
“They’ve brought in Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez, but you still don’t know how they’re going to progress over the next few years. The new signings will have to earn the right to get up to that level.”
On whether Man City signing Erling Haaland was the reason Salah decided to stay, Bent explained: “No, I just think Liverpool thought they couldn’t afford to lose Mane and Salah one season apart. They can’t do that.
“But now they’ve re-signed him on a new deal – wow.”