Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah was heavily linked away from the Merseyside in the past summer. The riches of Saudi Arabia had the serious potential of stealing one of the Premier League’s greatest-ever players away. Al-Ittihad wished to acquire the Egyptian’s services ahead of their FIFA Club World Cup campaign in December. Salah could have faced long-term rival Manchester City in the competition, but they instead remain his league rivals, as he is committed to Liverpool for now.
Salah’s departure in the near future is inevitable
Salah’s departure is inevitable in the coming years – Liverpool will have to find a way to cope with his absence at some point. His contract is set to end in 2025, which means the club could cash in next summer. The Egyptian began what could be his final Premier League season in excellent form with two goals and two assists in his first four appearances.
His efforts have been one of the main factors in Liverpool’s strong start to the season. For those who bet on sports, Liverpool is now one of the leading favorites to finish in the top four, and the Premier League betting markets suggest that a title race may even be a possibility for the Reds.
It would be perfect for Liverpool and Salah if the pair’s relationship could be provided with a fairytale ending this campaign. But the club should be building for the long-term regardless of Salah’s commitment at present. Which players are most suitable to fill the Egyptian’s boots?
The West Ham star is probably the most ideal replacement for Salah on the entire market. Stylistically Jarrod Bowen is very similar to Salah – a typical inside forward that operates like a winger in the build-up stage and a centre forward in the final third. Bowen is the perfect replacement for Salah for reasons besides his ability and style. He may have a deadly left foot and a stunning dribbling ability, but he also is Premier League-proven – which is surely a necessity to replace a legend of the league.
The Englishman’s start to the 2023/24 campaign is comparable with Salah’s. In his first four appearances, he provided three goals and one assist for the Hammers. Four fixtures of a league season is of course a small sample size, but there are hints that Bowen’s output could be about to blow up. At Anfield, he would receive chances much more frequently than in a counter-attacking system at West Ham. Bowen would surely provide the smallest offset of Salah’s output in terms of any potential replacement.
The only issue with the former option is of course price – a Premier League-proven forward in his prime could cost upwards of $100 million in the current market. Jurgen Klopp has been a huge fan of signing up-and-coming players throughout his reign at the club. Nicolas Gonzalez could represent the perfect option in that aspect.
The Fiorentina star managed six goals and an assist in 24 Serie A appearances last season. However, this campaign he recorded a third of his previous season’s goal tally in the first three games. Like Bowen, he is showing signs of potentially putting up the greatest season of his career, and at Liverpool, he would be deployed in an offensive system where attacking opportunities will be aplenty. The Argentinian would also fit seamlessly into the Reds’ ever-growing South American contingent.
Ultimately, when identifying replacements for a Liverpool legend in Salah, Bowen is perhaps the only option that ticks all of the boxes. However, Gonzalez could be another great option that mirrors Salah’s style and wouldn’t demand quite as lucrative a fee in the summer of 2024.