|Liverpool’s Sadio Mane is out of contract next year. AFP Photo|
I’m getting a bit sick of hearing: “Will he, won’t he?” and “Is he, isn’t he?”
I’m talking about Mo Salah and his long-drawn-out contract negotiations.
One day I’m reading that it’s only a matter of time before the Egyptian puts pen to paper and commits his future to the club, and the next his representative saying the two parties are still a long way from reaching a deal.
Touch wood, it doesn’t seem to have had any real effect on his performances for Liverpool, but like every supporter out there, I just wish it would get resolved pretty quickly.
But that said, there’s another pressing contract matter that seems to have been overshadowed by all the Salah wranglings.
Sadio Mane, Salah’s teammate and striking partner, is also out of contract next year. And some could argue that this season, he has proved his worth to Liverpool just as much, or even maybe slightly more, than Mo.
His goal this week in the Champions League semi-final first leg against Villareal at Anfield was his 20th so far this season, making him Liverpool’s second player to reach that milestone.
It also meant that the Senegalese has now scored 20 goals in four of his last five seasons. That’s a pretty decent and very consistent achievement.
I’m not hearing anything leaked or otherwise from the Mane camp about him wanting a gazillion dollars a month or he’s off. Nor are there any rumblings from Liverpool’s standpoint about offering the African a new deal.
It seems that with Salah at the forefront of the minds of FSG, Liverpool’s owners, Mane’s contract discussions appear to have taken a backseat.
Obviously, I’ve no idea exactly what goes on within the inner sanctums of Liverpool Football Club, and for all I know, negotiations are at an advanced stage.
But it seems, and I don’t for one minute want to have a pop at Salah, that Mane’s desire to be number one, top dog, and the highest-paid player at Liverpool FC isn’t really a thing.
There have been many quotes over the years attributed to Sadio where he talks about how he doesn’t need lots of sports cars or expensive jewellery, and there was once a great photo doing the rounds of him holding his phone, an old iPhone with a cracked screen.
There was a great documentary on television in France last year, talking about all the amazing work he does for his home village, and how generous he is, never forgetting where he came from.
He has not only funded the construction of a school in Bambali, but also contributed greatly to building the village’s first-ever hospital.
The back story of his journey from schoolboy to professional footballer is truly inspiring, and when I see him being interviewed he comes across as sincere, genuine and very humble.
Salah too, I’ve no doubt, probably also does his fair share of good deeds, using his position and undoubted wealth to help others.
But right now, as his contract negotiations continue to drag on, and we hear suggestions of his agent wanting more than $500,000 a month for his client, then I think it’s fair to say his popularlity is slightly waning.
I want them both to stay. Commit to Liverpool for the rest of their careers and continue their amazing success. But right now, if I had to choose just one, I think Mane would be the man for me. VNS