The Saudi Pro League Allows Longer Contracts for LFC Veterans

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Liverpool’s Contract Questions

The following players have a maximum of just over two years left on their current Liverpool contracts, with all relevant details laid out for the next three summers. Question marks surround all those listed below, with differing opinions on how each player should be approached in terms of potential renewals.

Contracts Expiring 30th June 2024

Thiago Alcântara

Joël Matip


Contracts Expiring 30th June 2025

Trent Alexander Arnold

Mohamed Salah

Virgil van Dijk

Contracts Expiring 30th June 2026

Ibrahima Konaté

Andrew Robertson

Caoimhín Kelleher

Rhys Williams

So many decisions will have to be made in the next few months as the new Sporting CEO, Michael Edwards, takes control of all football operations for Liverpool Football Club. The next manager will have to be chosen (and negotiated with) very soon, with both Xabi Alonso and Rúben Amorim requiring a significant buyout from their existing contracts, if they were the two names on the final shortlist. The current employers of both candidates, Bayer Leverkusen, and Sporting Lisbon, will still need their respective current head coaches enticed by Edwards, as the final choice starts to narrow towards just one name. My preference would still be the latter of the two, 38-year-old Rúben Amorim, who has amassed unbelievable success with both his team and so many individual players. Once a new manager is agreed upon by the new CEO and his incoming Sporting Director, Richard Hughes, the playing contracts of vital assets must then be attended to by the Anfield executives. It would be unlikely that huge contracts would be offered to any of the above, without all relevant parties reaching an agreement, therefore, I suspect the search for a new head coach is not just ongoing, I suspect it may be all but done.

Which Players Should Have Their Contracts Renewed & Why…?

Regarding quality, I personally would like to see both Thiago Alcântara and Joël Matip retained on two-year deals, despite them by obvious injury issues surrounding both. My reasoning for this would be simple. Each of those current reds are very highly thought of and experienced in the world of football, which means there would be no issue whatsoever in selling them on next summer. To release them now would be to relinquish proven European performers that can aid the migration of youth and regeneration that has been rampant during this campaign. I would be reluctant to see them stay on as first team starters (when fit of course), though I could absolutely see each player play a key role in the initial season of any new manager. A two-year deal may seem odd (given the current unavailability of both), yet despite the lack of European clubs that may be willing to pay a good fee in the summer of 2025, the Saudi Pro League has changed what is feasible and what is not, in this ever-changing transfer market.

Regardless of a clear physical drop off in their final season on Merseyside, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson were able to fetch a combined £55m fee last summer, which indicates the stature of each former player was the driving force in recruiting them both to a very ordinary standard of league. There is an argument to be made that that hefty sum could again be attained in the sale of Thiago Alcântara and Joël Matip, which is something that may prompt Michael Edwards into some outside of the box thinking. By reducing the level of pay for each player but enticing each with the hope of more silverware and potentially a percentage of any future sale, I do not see a downside when certain clubs from the Middle East seem intent on acquiring footballers from the European elite. There is now a valid market for commodities based upon what they once were, with complete disregard for their actual athletic offerings and subsequent regression. Presumably each player will be moved on when Jürgen Klopp departs and allow academy graduates to rise, though there is certainly an argument to be made for keeping them at the club for one more year.

What About Those Contracts That Expire in 2025 and 2026…?

Trent Alexander Arnold, Mohamed Salah, and Virgil van Dijk, should all be granted a minimum of three-year deals, with Trent ideally tied to a five-year extension. The exact same premise exists for Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk, who would both command huge fees even when they are beyond their mid-thirties. The next manager will absolutely want brilliant players at the club and I can see no way that these three world class talents will not be tied down for the long term. There is not a club on the planet that they would not walk into and the two more senior players could still be coaxed to the Middle East when they are approaching 40-years of age.

Ibrahima Konaté should be considered alongside his vice-captain, Trent Alexander Arnold, and be rewarded the maximum length of deal possible, however, I would be inclined to see all of Andy Robertson, Caoimhín Kelleher, and Rhys Williams, sold in the forthcoming summer. Scotland’s international captain, Robbo, is a player in clear regression and he may not suit the incoming system of play. At 30-years-old, the former Hull man would still fetch a sizeable transfer fee and garner substantial interest.  To renew the legendary left back may end up mirroring that last contract of Jordan Henderson, who could not compete within an elite level team and struggled with even the notion of being a backup player. With the need for a left wing back next year (under either manager mentioned), means now would be the time to cash in and attract the next generations attacking full back.

Caoimhín Kelleher is enjoying an outstanding year in between the sticks but he will still drop back into the backup role as soon as the world’s best stopper returns to full fitness. This summer represents the best moment for the 25-year-old to attract a solid Premier League destination, which will of course maximise the fee that the reds would receive for him. Ideally, I would love to see a buy back clause inserted, however, the feeling is that the Republic of Ireland international will go on to enjoy a solid career elsewhere as soon as the season ends. Regarding young Rhys Williams, the centre back must be moved on so that he can find his level in football.

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