$280m? Who cares? Salah is the rare “unsellable” player

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The gossip reports are out there, with lofty claims that Real Madrid and Barcelona are willing to pay as much as $280 million dollars for Mohamed Salah.

Normally that figure triggers something in my brain that screams, “Sell! Sell! Sell before they realize what they’ve offered!”

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That’s not happening with Mohamed Salah.

This isn’t an inflated fee for a young English player like Ross Barkley or John Stones, nor is it a club throwing a lofty and desperate figure at a very good but supremely overvalued player like Philippe Coutinho. Even Raheem Sterling, who I advocated selling, has proven replaceable.

In the case of Salah, his Golden Boot figure is likely to dwarf any in the Premier League era. He’s at 28, three behind Luis Suarez’s 31. Cristiano Ronaldo has bagged 31 once Alan Shearer and Andy Cole hold the modern record with 34.

Salah needs six to tie Shearer. Here’s Liverpool’s run-in: Crystal Palace (A), Everton (A), Bournemouth (H), West Brom (A), Stoke City (H), Chelsea (A), Brighton and Hove Albion (H).

Five of those teams absolutely hemorrhage goals. Would you bet against Salah?

By the way, Salah has 10 assists, too. Sure Jurgen Klopp deserves credit for buying and deploying the Egyptian wizard, but

When Klopp argued that Liverpool was not a selling club, this is the exact example to follow. Selling Coutinho — again, not trying to poke the bear that is ornery overvaluing fan — is fine in a world where your club has Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, and Mohamed Salah

But selling one of Europe’s leading scorers is almost never okay for a club challenging for a Champions League crown and with the clear caliber of a Premier League title hunter.

I’d argue that for this club, one who has sold Coutinho and Suarez, there is not a fee that meets Salah straight-on.  He’s 25 and living in the air just below Lionel Messi and Neymar.

The Messi comparisons I keep reading are fun but still unbelievably premature by every stretch of the imagination. By the time Messi was Salah’s age he had league seasons of 34, 31, 50, and was en route to a 46-goal mark. He posted 68 combined assists over those four seasons.

If this is somehow an aberration, and Salah cannot find this form ever again, well, that’s bad luck and a risk worth its weight in standard setting.

There is not a replacement player.

There is no fee.

Say it again now.

Report: Real Madrid wants Salah swap for Isco, money

Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images
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Mohamed Salah is having a magical season, and there’s every reason to believe he’s capable of performing at a similar level for several years.

This has led to reports of a wild $280 million price tag and also to Real Madrid and other rich clubs thinking of plying him from Liverpool (We’ve made the argument that the Egyptian is “unsellable” given Liverpool’s goals under Jurgen Klopp).

[ MORE: Salah injury update ]

Diario Gol says that Real knows that Liverpool wouldn’t dream of selling Salah for less than Barcelona paid for Philippe Coutinho (and that’s quite reasonable, considering that Coutinho’s best season is nowhere near Salah’s 2017-18 and not even really his 2016-17 at AS Roma).

So the thought is that Real will offer Spanish playmaker Isco and $62 million for Salah. The reasoning behind the move actually has some merit from a footballing perspective, with Isco very much a Klopp type and Zinedine Zidane wanting more of a defensive effort from the 25-year-old.

That said, there is no way that monetary figure cuts muster for the Reds. But if it’s an opening salvo in the gossip games, we rate it as decent enough to warrant a mention.