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Top 10 highest paid footballers as Mohamed Salah ‘breaks £30m mark’

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Mohamed Salah’s Liverpool future remains will be a topic of discussion for some time yet it seems.

The ‘Egyptian King’, who has just become the fourth player in Liverpool history to reach the 100 Premier League goal mark for the club, has two years remaining on his Anfield deal.

Liverpool want Salah to remain, while the 29-year-old is also understood to be open to joining teammates Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson, Alisson Becker, Fabinho and others in committing his long-term future to the club.

For Salah it likely represents his last major contract. Approaching his 30s and in fine form, the Egyptian international, who joined the Reds from AS Roma back in 2017, will be well aware of his worth in the market as one of the game’s elite talents.

For Liverpool to keep him beyond 2023 and not have to consider moving him on so as not to lose him on a free will be a costly exercise, but one that they will know represents their best option both competitively and financially.

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Signing a player of the calibre of Salah would involve a major fee and major wages. If Liverpool want to keep Salah then they would have to make him the highest paid player in the club’s history, but with him being still being so instrumental to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool machine it is hard to make the case that it isn’t a price worth paying.

Salah’s rise to becoming one of the game’s elite at Liverpool can be underscored by where he sits in the global game.

Forbes magazine, in their 2021 report into football’s highest paid players, have placed Salah at number five, behind only Kylian Mbappe, Neymar Jnr, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Three of the top four highest paid players are on the payroll at Paris Saint-Germain.

The report doesn’t simply use salaries to calculate how much a player earns in a year, with the value of their endorsements playing a major part. And Salah’s switch from forgotten man at Chelsea to talismanic Liverpool forward has seen his popularity, particularly in Africa, boom and the value of his endorsements follow suit.

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According to Forbes, Salah brings in some £30m per year, with £18.3m of that being his salary from Liverpool and £11.7m coming from his endorsement deals.

Forbes’ report stated: “He has become the face of Muslim athletes in the game, and an important one at that. A recent academic study found that after Salah joined Liverpool, hate crimes in the city dropped by 16%.”

His major social media following across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram is around 72m, demonstrating the kind of global appeal that makes him an attractive proposition for commercial partners, with lucrative deals such as his boot deal with Adidas in place.

Salah’s off-field endorsements actually outstrip those of Mbappe (£11m), although the French striker’s estimated £20.5m annual salary sees him ahead of the Liverpool legend.

For Liverpool, Salah’s global appeal is lucrative for both the player and for the club.

In his book ‘Done Deal’, sports lawyer Daniel Geey explains: “It is common for top Premier League clubs to enter into image rights contracts with their elite players who have significant commercial value to their commercial partners.

“Sometimes those payments can be as much as 20 per cent of the total basic salary of the player. A club will therefore have a potential image rights payment of up to £1m per year to make.”

Speaking to the ECHO regarding Salah, Geey commented: “It’s likely that Salah has this in place. What it does is provide a certainty that his image can be used across brand team inventory. It is important because it gives the club contractual control that they can positively exploit.”

At fifth on the list Salah is some way back from the top three of Neymar Jnr, Messi and Ronaldo.

Neymar Jnr has a £69.6m annual income, with £55.9m of that arriving from his PSG salary. Messi’s annual income stands at £80.5m, with the same salary as Neymar in the report but endorsement deals worth £25.6m per year.

It is, however, Manchester United’s returning Ronaldo who holds top spot with annual earnings of £91.5m, £51.2m of those coming through wages and £40.25m from endorsements.

Salah’s salary will rise if he signs a new deal at Liverpool, but it won’t be reaching the levels of the top three. Part of the thinking for Salah will be where he will be best suited to continue to thrive and maintain his global appeal, something that will be closely linked to how much his endorsement deals are worth, which presently make up 63.9 per cent of his overall annual income.

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For Liverpool the difficulty will lie in keeping both Salah happy and also making sure they don’t disrupt the harmony when it comes to payroll.

Geey said: “Clubs have to make a call on the incremental value of the team.

“How much a new contract might be worth to Salah, the other players in the squad will be thinking that they should be getting closer to that and the risk exists that the wage bill will rise significantly the next time you have to engage a number of key players on new deals.

“Liverpool have managed to get a lot of their key players tied down already, which could work in their favour.”

Top 10 highest earning footballers according to Forbes:

1) Cristiano Ronaldo – $125M
2) Lionel Messi – $110M
3) Neymar – $95M
4) Kylian Mbappe – $43M
5) Mohamed Salah – $41M
6) Robert Lewandowski – $35M
7) Andres Iniesta – $35M
8) Paul Pogba – $34M
9) Gareth Bale – $32M
10) Eden Hazard – $29M

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