Liverpool are reportedly preparing a last-ditch improvement on their contract offer for Mohamed Salah as Barcelona chase the winger.
Away from the Reds’ quest for a quadruple, the Egypt international’s future has become the hot topic at Anfield. His form has chiefly driven the talk over his contract, following 28 goals in 36 games.
Salah’s current terms run out at the end of next season. Both his agent and the club have long been in talks, but no real progress has been made.
From Liverpool’s perspective, manager Jurgen Klopp has insisted that Salah’s talks are progressing well. Not only is the 29-year-old angling for the biggest contract of his career, but he is also one of the best players in the world.
However, transfer journalist Fabrizio Romano recently claimed that talks stopped in December and have not restarted.
Meanwhile, Barcelona have emerged as a potential next destination for Salah if he does not renew Liverpool terms. The winger reportedly held talks with the Blaugrana in 2018 and has given them further tempting signals over a deal.
According to the latest from Sport, Liverpool have made Salah non-transferable this summer. Indeed, they have accepted the risk of losing their star man for free next year.
The report claims that the Anfield club are instead preparing a ‘final summit’ to improve their contract offer.
Salah wants to overtake Virgil van Dijk as the highest-paid Liverpool player. While the Reds are keen to reward the Egyptian, they do not want to break their wage structure.
If they did, a host of other stars who have helped win the five major trophies won under Klopp would likely ask for similar salaries.
Sport also adds that Salah could yet force his way out of Anfield – if Barcelona launch a ‘total offensive’ for a deal.
The La Liga side have so far only made an enquiry about Salah. They appreciate that Liverpool are a difficult team to negotiate with over player sales.
But, the report does not rule out a full-scale transfer raid from Barca.
Salah refocusing on Liverpool task
For now, though, Salah is solely focused on further etching his name into Liverpool folklore.
His consistent form this season and in his previous four campaigns has led to significant achievements this term, beyond his winners’ medals.
He recently became the fifth-fastest player to 100 Premier League goals. What’s more, he overtook Roger Hunt as the quickest player to reach 100 league goals for Liverpool.
Salah is now looking to win a third Premier League Golden Boot award while at Liverpool.
But, three more trophy winners’ medals after the Carabao Cup success would see him cement his status at Anfield.
Contract update emerges as six players are set to leave Reading FC
Championship outfit Reading are set to release Orjan Nyland, Terell Thomas, Brandon Barker, Alen Halilovic, Felipe Arauna and Marc McNulty this summer, according to an update from Berkshire Live.
The Royals have several first-teamers out of contract this summer and will be keen to tie many of those players down to new deals – but will be forced to release some due to the need to reduce their wage bill.
If they fail to do so, they will be punished with a further six-point sanction from the EFL next term with the governing body and the second-tier side agreeing to a business plan back in November.
Quiz: Can you name which club Reading FC sold these 23 players to from the last decade?
This hasn’t stopped the second-tier outfit from attempting to strike agreements with some of their key assets though, with Andy Yiadom, John Swift, Josh Laurent, Tom Holmes, Andy Rinomhota, Femi Azeez and Junior Hoilett all thought to have been offered new deals.
According to the same outlet, Swift has been offered a new three-year deal at the Select Car Leasing Stadium, though it’s currently unclear whether he will put pen to paper with interest from elsewhere. Yiadom is expected to extend his stay in Berkshire though.
Six players that may not be so lucky are Nyland, Thomas, Barker, Halilovic, Araruna and McNulty, with the latter five failing to make a real impact during their time at the club. Nyland, however, was one of the first names on the teamsheet during his short time at the club after joining in March.
The Royals have made good decisions on the latter five if this report is on the money – because none of them really did enough to earn themselves fresh terms at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.
In fact, the man who could probably feel most aggrieved out of the quintet is Terell Thomas who didn’t put a foot wrong during his two games for the club but didn’t get enough time on the pitch to prove his worth.
Unfortunately, Halilovic wasn’t fit enough to earn fresh terms and like Thomas, Barker didn’t play enough either.
The less said about McNulty’s time in Berkshire the better – and all parties will be happy to move on including the player who never really had the chance to show his worth. In fairness though, he didn’t exactly do enough when he did play, so the Royals were perhaps justified in sending him elsewhere.
Nyland is perhaps a surprise departure though – because many people would see the Norwegian as a solid second-tier keeper despite his errors against Stoke City and Luton Town. However, he is certainly replaceable.
Thomas Tuchel offers injury latest ahead of Leicester clash
Thomas Tuchel provides brief on Mateo Kovacic, Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Andreas Christensen along with Ben Chilwell return.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has offered an update on the state of his squad regarding injuries ahead of the visit of Leicester City to Stamford Bridge on Thursday night.
Both teams head into the tie with little to play for, with the Blues clinching Champions League football thanks to Newcastle’s win over Arsenal on Monday night, while Leicester’s ambitions are restricted to an eighth place finish.
Kai Havertz and Mateo Kovacic remain major doubts for the tie, Tuchel confirms. The former missed out on the FA Cup final due to a hamstring problem and Kovacic was substituted on the hour mark at Wembley after being rushed back with an ankle injury.
The German manager also provided the latest on Timo Werner who was unable to feature against Liverpool due to an ‘uncomfortable’ warm-up.
“Kai will try in training today,” stated Tuchel.
“He was in individual training yesterday rather than with the team so there’s still a big question mark over him for tomorrow.
“Timo is out with a hamstring problem. Kova had a big swollen ankle after the match and he did not train yesterday so it is unlikely he will be available tomorrow.”
Fans were also surprised to see defender Andreas Christensen’s omission from the squad for Sunday’s final.
His absence from even the substitute’s bench led onlookers to speculate if his heavily reported move away played a factor but Tuchel protested that was not the case:
“Andreas came [to me] on the morning of the cup final and told me he was not ready for the match. He had his reasons, they will stay private and confidential, but it was not the first time.
“It was very short notice before the cup final and even with other matches in the weeks before. He retains our support but it is probably unlikely [that he plays against Leicester]. But I have no prediction for tomorrow or the weekend.”
🗣 “Andreas [Christensen] came on the morning of the match to inform me he is not ready. He had his reasons, they stay private.”
Thomas Tuchel confirms that Andreas Christensen asked not to play for Chelsea in the FA Cup final but would not reveal why pic.twitter.com/0VAIJcVFdZ
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) May 18, 2022
Ben Chilwell return provides silver lining for Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea
Providing solace for the Chelsea faithful and himself alike, Tuchel delivered the news that full-back Ben Chilwell had returned to training.
Pictured on social media back with the squad, Chilwell hasn’t trained since suffering an Achilles injury in November last year against Juventus.
Chelsea’s fall away from the title race has been largely attributed to the absence of the 25-year-old, who provides balance to a system that is heavily reliant on having two marauding wing-backs.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 17, 2022
Despite his reappearance on the training ground, a return to face former side Leicester is a stretch too far.
“Yesterday Ben Chilwell was back in team training which was very good news and a big uplift for everyone,” Tuchel added.
“It was very good news to see him back in training but of course he is out for the match. We are desperate to have Ben back next season because he’s one of our key players.
“At the same time we will be very patient with him because it’s a big injury and he’s been out for a long time. We are very excited and looking forward to having him back.”
In relation to their opponents, the Foxes could welcome the return of Nampalys Mendy, Ricardo Pereira and Youri Tielemans. Meanwhile, Hamza Choudhury, Wilfred Ndidi and Ryan Bertrand remain unavalaible.