Liverpool legend John Barnes says any future calls made by the likes of Mohamed Salah this summer will not be impacted by the final Premier League standings, with transfer talk set to be sparked regardless of what happens.
An Egyptian superstar at Anfield has seen speculation resurface regarding a potential switch to Spain, with La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona among his many admirers.
It has been suggested that failure by Jurgen Klopp’s defending champions to secure a top-four finish this season could see heads turned, but Barnes doubts that will influence any big career decisions.
What has been said?
“No matter where a team finishes in the league, it will never stop a player’s head from turning against them. In the last year, despite Liverpool being Premier League champions, there has been talk of Mohamed Salah leaving the club,” Reds legend Barnes, speaking in association with BonusCodeBets, has told Goal.
“I believe the players currently at Liverpool are players that want to be playing for Liverpool, but if they don’t, winning the league or finishing in the top four, it won’t make them stay - that’s just the nature of modern football.
“There’s talk of Kylian Mbappe leaving PSG, players leaving Real Madrid and players leaving other top teams; Kevin de Bruyne hasn’t signed his contract extension with Manchester City yet, despite the likelihood of him winning the Premier League with them. So, finishing in the top four won’t make Salah want to stay and if they don’t finish in the top four, it won’t make him want to leave.”
Can Liverpool afford to lose Salah?
The 29-year-old has been a talismanic presence throughout his time on Merseyside, with 118 goals recorded through 186 appearances.
Salah is a two-time Golden Boot winner, while currently being in the hunt for a third, and has been able to maintain his impressive standards during a recent wobble from the Reds.
Quizzed on whether he has become the one player that Liverpool cannot afford to lose, Barnes added: “Liverpool wouldn’t want to lose any of their players in the transfer window, they are all important. Mohamed Salah has been excellent this season, but Sadio Mane has been fantastic also.
“He (Salah) has been scoring plenty of goals, but Mane has been equally as good in terms of his hard work, both defensively and in creating chances going forward. There isn’t a single player Liverpool can afford to lose.
“They don’t want to lose any of their best players, but I wouldn’t say that Mohamed Salah is the one player they can’t afford to lose.”
Salah has hinted that his long-term future could lie outside of Anfield, but he is tied to a contract through to the summer of 2023 and it would take a sizeable offer to free him from that agreement.
For now, his future remains locked on events at Liverpool, with a side that has suffered three successive Premier League defeats for the first time under Klopp looking to snap out of their slump when they take in a home date with derby rivals Everton on Saturday.