Erling Haaland transfer could be key to Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp keeping Mohamed Salah

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“No one knows what’s going to happen in the future, so maybe one day, yes. It’s not up to me. We’ll see what happens but I prefer not to talk about that now.” Those were the words of Mohamed Salah this week discussing a prospective move to La Liga.

It comes after a dramatic interview in December, where he similarly said: “I think Real Madrid and Barcelona are two top clubs. Who knows what will happen in the future.”

With ex-Chelsea and Roma forward Salah out of contract in 2023, the Egyptian is clearly putting the ball in Liverpool’s court. The decision is totally theirs, he says.

The winger will turn 29 in June and Liverpool certainly face a decision as to whether they hand their highest-paid player a new long-term deal, likely on improved wages, or whether they cash in. It is a huge decision.

Given this season he is the Premier League’s current joint-top goalscorer and has fired 25 goals in 40 games across all competitions this term, to take his overall Anfield strike record to 119 goals (on top of 45 assists) in 192 appearances, Liverpool are highly unlikely to want to sell this summer.

Even more so when they could be reeling from a failure to secure Champions League football, unless they beat Real Madrid and then Chelsea and then one of Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, Manchester City or Borussia Dortmund to win a seventh European Cup this term.

Yet to keep Salah, Liverpool may be reliant on factors outside of their control and especially there is the domino effect that would be caused were Erling Haaland to leave Dortmund this summer.

Liverpool are one of the many clubs to be linked with the Norwegian marksman but the finances it would take to sign him puts them well out of the picture. It would do so even if they had guaranteed Champions League football for next season.

Instead, the five main clubs in the hunt for his signature appear to be Manchester United, Man City, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Obviously, Liverpool would prefer one of the two Spanish giants to sign the prolific 20-year-old given how much he would strengthen any of their Premier League rivals and make their quest for a 20th league title in the coming seasons even harder.

But perhaps Jurgen Klopp might like to see Haaland land in the Spanish capital of Madrid, rather than Barcelona, with Los Blancos viewing the Scandinavian as their next ‘galactico’.

Why? Well Real Madrid landing Haaland would significantly aid Liverpool’s chances of keeping Salah for next season, and probably for the remainder of his peak years.

At the very least it would well and truly leave the decision up to them. They could decide when they want to offload rather than having Salah taken away this summer, having lost so many star players to the two Spanish heavyweights before. See here: Javier Mascherano, Xabi Alonso, Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho.

Make no mistake about it, replacing Salah would be an immense task even for Liverpool’s recruitment team, who have been lauded for their consistent successes in recent years.

His output at Liverpool has been phenomenal, and at the very highest level. In 41 Champions League matches he has produced 34 direct goal contributions. In the Premier League, 124 direct contributions in 136 matches. No wonder he has a winners’ medal for both.

But this has been his fourth season at Liverpool, the longest spell at one club in his entire career, and clearly playing for Real Madrid or Barcelona entices him, as much as he is emotionally connected to Liverpool.

Yet Real’s financial struggles mean it would be virtually impossible for them to sign Haaland, at over £100m, and also pursue Salah – who could cost over £100m himself – in the same summer.

Twelve months on, Salah would be 30 years old and provided he stays beyond the next window, he should surely sign a new contract at Liverpool.

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Barca, meanwhile, will this year be desperately concentrated on keeping Lionel Messi. They too are struggling for money, as shown by the focus they are putting on free transfers for Gini Wijnaldum, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia.

It has been claimed Barca will look to offload players in order to free up funds for Haaland but would they be so keen to uproot their side to sign a player so much older in Salah?

With Sergio Aguero, Messi’s best friend, now on the market for the summer, perhaps the Catalan giants are more likely to pursue yet another free deal by snapping up the Argentine to strengthen their forward line instead, alongside Depay.

And if Real and Barca are out of the picture, there are few alternative options for Salah. Perhaps PSG, if they lose Kylian Mbappe.

But that too may depend on what happens with Haaland. Again, there are very few clubs with the financial firepower capable of prising the Frenchman from Paris, and perhaps even fewer who could pitch the idea that they would be an upgrade on PSG.

Plus who is to say a move to Ligue 1 would be as attractive to Salah as a move to La Liga would be? In terms of status across Europe, the French top flight is held in lesser regard than the English and Spanish equivalents.

Otherwise, there is absolutely zero chance of the other clubs with the financial capabilities to sign Salah – City, United and Chelsea – even contemplating a bid.

And so Liverpool will be keeping a keen eye on where Haaland ends up for several different reasons.

If it’s City, United, Chelsea or Barca, that may well have consequences for Salah’s future on Merseyside, as Real Madrid are far more likely to make a move for the Egypt international.

If it’s Real Madrid, Salah’s chances of wearing the iconic white shirt at the Bernabeu may finally evaporate once and for all.

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