Barcelona president Joan Laporta insists the club have "no intention" of selling Manchester United target Frenkie De Jong, but says the midfielder may have to accept a salary adjustment to remain at Camp Nou.

De Jong, who emerged as one of European football's hottest properties under Erik ten Hag at Ajax before joining Barca in 2019, has been strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford since his former boss took over at United.

The Netherlands international said in May that his preference would be to remain at Camp Nou, which he labelled his "dream club", but the Blaugrana's financial difficulties have given rise to speculation he could depart.

Barcelona's desire to recruit wantaway Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has only amplified such rumours, but Laporta believes De Jong is happy at the club and could stay – if an agreement over his salary can be reached.

"Frenkie de Jong is a Barca player and is recognised as one of the best players in the world," Laporta told reporters.

"We know of clubs that want him, not only United, and we have no intention of selling him. The player, I get the impression, wants to stay. 

"He is comfortable at Barca and I will do what is in my power so that Frenkie stays here, but it is also a salary issue and it would have to be adjusted.

"What is certain is that the salary levels of some players are not in line with the salary levels that the board of directors that I have the privilege of presiding over have set."

 

De Jong made 47 appearances for Barcelona during the 2021-22 season, scoring four goals and boasting the best passing accuracy (91.18 per cent) of any of the club's midfielders to play at least 20 games in all competitions.

Laporta refused to be drawn on Barcelona's interest in Lewandowski, however, only affirming his respect for the Poland international's current club. 

"He is a Bayern player," he said of the striker, who plundered 50 goals for the Bundesliga champions last season. 

"Everyone knows that he is a great player, but I would prefer to be reserved because he is a Bayern player. 

"We know that he has publicly stated that he wants to come to Barca and we are very flattered, but we have respect for Bayern Munich, which is one of the best clubs in the world. Between clubs, we respect each other."

It seems Cristiano Ronaldo's second stint at Manchester United might be cut short.

Ronaldo returned to United at the end of August 2021, but after a season back at Old Trafford, the 37-year-old apparently wants out.

According to multiple reports, Ronaldo has informed the club that he wishes to leave should an acceptable offer be received.

Ronaldo was United's top scorer last season, though it would be fair to say his comeback did not go entirely to plan, with the Red Devils finishing sixth and recording their worst Premier League points tally.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked in November and interim manager Ralf Rangnick hardly made a lasting impression.

Erik ten Hag has now been tasked with the rebuild, but would doing that without Ronaldo be a negative, or a positive? Two of Stats Perform's writers have had their say.

Ronaldo's want-away wish bad news for United - Patric Ridge

Sure, United's season might not have gone according to plan, but without Ronaldo, it could have been a lot worse. United ultimately scraped into the Europa League despite a dismal end to the campaign, and the fact that they have continental club football of any description to look forward to in the coming season is, in large part, down to the 18 league goals Ronaldo scored.

His record speaks for itself, and the task of replacing him is put into even more of a stark light when you compare Ronaldo's statistics to the rest of United's squad last term.

His 24 goals across all competitions is 14 clear of second-best Bruno Fernandes (10). Indeed, only Ronaldo (27), Fernandes (23) and Paul Pogba (10) hit double figures for direct goal contributions.

Can United really lose two of those players in one window and expect to be challenging for Champions League qualification next term, especially with Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea all looking to strengthen? Marcus Rashford looks like a player in need of a reset, and Anthony Martial is seemingly surplus to requirements.

Ronaldo scored a goal every 132 minutes last season, recording a shot conversion rate of 16.9 per cent. With Ronaldo in the team, United won 17 of 38 games (44.7 per cent). That win rate dropped drastically to 27.3 per cent (3/11) without him.

In this writer's opinion, Ronaldo leaving would leave Ten Hag with even more work to do, on top of what is already a hugely difficult task.

Ronaldo departure would provide opportunity for reset - Ryan Benson

Goals win football matches. Cristiano Ronaldo scores goals – we know this. But did he make United a better team in general? Few would claim he did.

Granted, some might suggest that is a harsh way to judge him given he played in – and scored 18 league goals for – arguably the worst United team (at least in terms of seasonal statistics) in over 30 years, but who's to say only he could have netted that amount for this side? Don't forget, they did finish second in the 2020-21 campaign.

Even before he returned to Old Trafford, there were plenty of critics warning fans United could potentially be worse off than before with Ronaldo because of how little he offers to the wider team.

Yes, he scores goals, but what's stopping United signing a replacement who does that but also works hard off the ball and adds dynamism to the attack? Maybe that's easier said than done, but those players do literally exist.

United are in a transitional stage, the middle of a rebuild. With that in mind, no one will be expecting them to mount anything close to a title challenge next season, Ronaldo or not.

Therefore, they might as well allow Ten Hag to bring a striker he deems to be tailor-made for the way he wants to play, rather than shoe-horn into the side a Ronaldo who offers precious little outside of the box.

Ronaldo is 37. United would've needed to replace him soon anyway, so at least this provides them with an earlier opportunity to sign, and start building around, someone much younger.

Cristiano Ronaldo is poised to become the biggest news of the transfer window, with reports stating he is keen on leaving Manchester United to continue playing in the Champions League.

The Portuguese superstar has played in Europe's elite competition for 19 consecutive seasons since first moving to United from Sporting CP in 2003 and stands as the highest-ever scorer in the tournament with 140 goals.

However, United's sixth-placed finish in the Premier League last season means that Erik ten Hag takes over a side who are set for Europa League football – and it is now reported that Ronaldo is pushing for an exit.

If he does get his wish, there are only a few likely destinations for the 37-year-old and Stats Perform has assessed some of them.

Napoli

A return to Serie A has been touted for Ronaldo, with The Athletic naming Napoli as potential suitors – they have a void in their team following the exit of Lorenzo Insigne.

In Ronaldo's three years in Italy with Juventus, no player scored more Serie A goals than his tally of 81 and, despite spending the past year with Manchester United, only Ciro Immobile has scored more Serie A goals since 2018.

Napoli, having finished third in Serie A last year and nine points ahead of Juventus, would match Ronaldo's desire to play Champions League football – although the club's finances and Ronaldo's wage demands may prove to be restrictive.

 

Chelsea

Fresh from Todd Boehly's takeover, Chelsea are looking to rejuvenate the squad and finances do not appear to be a problem, given they have allowed Romelu Lukaku to return to Inter on loan just a year after spending a club-record £97.5million on the Belgium forward.

Interestingly enough, it has been reported that Ronaldo's agent, Jorge Mendes, has already met with the new Chelsea owner this summer and the Blues are in need of a striker having lost Lukaku, with Timo Werner performing better from a deeper role.

Whether Ronaldo would accept a move to a Premier League rival, given his status at Old Trafford, is the biggest question regarding any hopes the Blues may have in signing the veteran forward and, if he is keen, United would likely demand a significant return on the investment they paid last year.

Chelsea also have interest in Raheem Sterling and Leeds United attacker Raphinha, but Ronaldo would be a statement of intent for the new owner.

Sporting CP

With a United homecoming already under his belt, could Sporting secure a sensational return of their own and bring Ronaldo back to where it all began? It's certainly not beyond the realm of possibility.

Second in Primeira Liga last season, Sporting have the Champions League football that Ronaldo craves and he is already a great at the club – though his success has come in his years since he left his home country in 2003.

Ronaldo had just a single season in the senior squad with Sporting before he moved to United, so he may feel he has unfinished business – and it is a side that can definitely compete, having ended a 20-year barren spell without a league title in the 2020-21 season.

 

Bayern Munich

Ronaldo has shone in three of Europe's top-five leagues, the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A, with only the Bundesliga and Ligue 1 left standing – and Bayern have been touted as potential suitors, though Paris Saint-Germain are not said to be interest (sorry, no link up with Lionel Messi just yet, sports fans).

With Robert Lewandowski's future at the Allianz Arena continuing to be shrouded in speculation, it may fall into place for the Poland international to get what he wants, a move to Barcelona, and for Bayern to land Ronaldo as his replacement.

In the past five years, no player has scored more league goals than Lewandowski (193) but Ronaldo, along with the addition of Sadio Mane, should be able to fill any goalscoring void that would be left in the event of a departure.

Real Madrid

Another possible return destination... could Ronaldo wind back up in the Spanish capital?

The Champions League winners are hardly in need of another superstar forward, given the incredible form of Karim Benzema, but bringing Ronaldo back to the club where he scored 450 goals would surely appeal to president Florentino Perez? 

Madrid missed out on Kylian Mbappe, much to their frustration, and having Ronaldo in their side would plug a gap, so to speak, until the PSG forward is further into the new, three-year contract he signed with the French club in May.

MLS

Champions League football has been documented as the reason for Ronaldo's desire to leave but, if such offers are not forthcoming, could a move to MLS be on the cards? 

Financial rules and designated player spots would make a switch complicated, with there only being a handful of teams likely to be able to make a move possible – likely to be those in Los Angeles, Miami and New York.

With the 2026 World Cup taking place in North America, bringing Ronaldo to MLS would raise the profile of the league further – and would undoubtedly be the biggest acquisition for the league since David Beckham's move to LA Galaxy in 2007.

That move marked the start of a new era of soccer in the US and has evolved considerably since, though Ronaldo's arrival would send things to a completely new level.

It has been reported that United do not wish to sell Ronaldo, but with his contract being up next year, could a switch to North America be likely? 

Cristiano Ronaldo should have told Manchester United he wanted to leave at the end of last season rather than drop a July bombshell, according to former Liverpool star Jamie Carragher.

Superstar Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford last year, having enjoyed a remarkable career in 12 seasons away with Real Madrid and Juventus, but widespread reports on Saturday said the 37-year-old wants to leave again.

He is said to want to play in the Champions League, according to The Times, which first reported the news, and United cannot offer that after a disappointing sixth-placed finish last season.

The Portugal striker has been a mainstay in that competition throughout his career, and the prospect of being away from the frontline of elite European football would be a step down.

New United manager Erik ten Hag will target a return to the Champions League, but that is at least a year away, and veteran Ronaldo does not have time to waste.

Unless Ronaldo has been given unexpected information about his role at United in the new season, Carragher said he could not understand the timing of his apparent request to move on.

Carragher sparked a debate with former United captain Gary Neville on Twitter when he wrote: "Ronaldo did exactly what I thought he would do, score goals but make the team worse. The transfer request also kills the idea he turned down Man City because of his love for Man United."

That was a reference to the saga that saw United seemingly pip Manchester City to the signing of Ronaldo last August, when Alex Ferguson appealed to his former star player to return to the Red Devils.

Carragher's comments triggered a rebuttal from Neville, who said: "I get it, you’re full of yourselves but he can turn down City for United because he likes them more and still want to leave this summer. He left before but still loved the club. Enjoy Saturday night and your short period of success."

Carragher, who has seen Liverpool rack up a string of trophies during a lean recent period for United, did not leave it at that.

"City didn’t want him you [clown] and you're the same fella who kept saying it was like Elvis had arrived in Manchester! Elvis has left the building," Carragher replied.

Carragher added: "Also, why now? Has ETH [Erik ten Hag] told him he is not part of his plans or will play a limited role?? Surely the end of last season was the right time to tell the club."

Ronaldo scored 24 goals in all competitions last season, including 18 in the Premier League.

United finished with their lowest points tally in the 30-year history of the Premier League, a competition Ronaldo won three times during his first United stint from 2003 to 2009.

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo has recently been linked with United's domestic rivals Chelsea and Jose Mourinho's Serie A outfit Roma. The Italians would be unable to offer Champions League football in 2022-23, but Chelsea could, having finished third in last season's Premier League.

Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Manchester United for a second time, according to a report.

Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford last year, having enjoyed a remarkable career in 12 seasons away with Real Madrid and Juventus.

But the veteran striker's homecoming campaign did not go entirely to plan, even if he scored 24 goals in all competitions.

United finished sixth in the Premier League, enduring a fifth successive season without silverware and finishing with their lowest points tally in the competition.

Ronaldo, who won three league titles and the Champions League during his first United stint, has since been linked with moves away from the club.

And The Times reported on Saturday that the 37-year-old has now asked United to be allowed to leave if they receive "a satisfactory offer".

The report suggests Ronaldo wants to spend the final years of his career playing in the Champions League, with United having to settle for Europa League football in 2022-23.

United are expected to bring in the first signing of the Erik ten Hag era in the coming days, with Feyenoord defender Tyrell Malacia reportedly set to join. According to widespread reports, the club are also in talks with Barcelona over Frenkie de Jong.

Harvey Elliott knows all about Liverpool's new "perfect player" Fabio Carvalho and expects the rest of the Premier League soon will, too.

Carvalho, like Elliott, came through Fulham's academy, and the pair are separated by less than a year.

They never played together in Fulham's first team, with Elliott leaving for Liverpool a year before Carvalho's professional debut, but the Portugal Under-21 international has now followed his former youth team-mate to Anfield.

Both men face a battle to get into a Liverpool attack that was boosted on Friday by news of Mohamed Salah's new contract, with Sadio Mane's departure offset by the signing of Darwin Nunez.

However, Elliott started three of the Reds' first four league games last season before dislocating his ankle, and he is confident Carvalho also has the quality to break into the team.

"He brings everything, in all fairness," Elliott told Liverpool's official website. "He has a great attitude, he has the flair, the skill, the determination, and he can score and assist as well."

A key part of the Fulham team who won the Championship last season, Carvalho contributed 10 goals and eight assists – a goal involvement every 158 minutes – with his 139 shot involvements ranking 15th across the entire division.

Still just 19, he was the youngest player to score five goals, provide five assists, attempt 50 shots or create 50 chances.

"He's the perfect player, in my eyes," Elliott continued, "and to have him on board and to have him in the building and around us, he'll only make us better players as well, and it will only make him a better player. 

"It's been a long time, and to hopefully share the pitch with him again and to have that link-up, it'll be great and I'm just looking forward to it. 

"Hopefully he can show everyone why we signed him."

Carvalho's Premier League debut could come in familiar surroundings, as Liverpool face Fulham on the opening day of the new season.

James Tarkowski has signed for Everton on a free transfer following the expiration of his Burnley contract.

Tarkowski has secured a four-year deal, keeping him at Everton until June 2026.

The 29-year-old, who has two England caps, becomes Frank Lampard's first signing of the transfer window, as the Everton manager looks to improve on the squad that finished 16th last season.

Defence was a major area of concern under Lampard and his predecessor Rafael Benitez, with Ben Godfrey and Yerry Mina suffering injury-hit campaigns. Indeed, Everton conceded 66 goals in the 2021-22 season, the 16th-worst total in the Premier League.

While Tarkowski was unable to help Burnley retain their top-flight status, the centre-back had a strong individual campaign.

No defender in the league competed for (217) or won more aerial duels (153) than Tarkowski.

Brentford's Pontus Jansson, with 186, was the only defender to make more clearances than Tarkowski's 183, while Everton's new addition also ranked second for headed clearances (101).

"I'm excited to have joined Everton. It's a massive club. I'm really looking forward to the years ahead and I'm thankful for the opportunity that I've been given," Tarkowski told Everton's official website.

"Speaking to the manager, it was very important to see what he wants from his players and his team, what he saw in me and why he wanted to sign me.

"I'm an ambitious person, I want to achieve, I want to win things and I've come here to be successful."

While they have strengthened in defence, Everton's financial issues have resulted in the sale of star forward Richarlison, whose move to Tottenham went through on Friday for a reported £50million fee, with add-ons taking the deal potentially up to £60m.

The Toffees have been linked with Spurs midfielder Harry Winks, while reports of interest in Jesse Lingard – another free agent after he left Manchester United – have also emerged.

Manchester United and England goalkeeper Dean Henderson has completed a season-long loan move to Premier League new boys Nottingham Forest.

Henderson has been with the Red Devils since the age of 14 and has 49 top-flight appearances to his name but has found himself largely acting as understudy to David de Gea at Old Trafford.

The 25-year-old previously enjoyed two loan spells with Sheffield United, helping the Blades to promotion from the Championship in 2018-19 and earning international recognition with the Three Lions in an impressive 2019-20 campaign.

Speaking to Forest's official website, Henderson said: "I'm absolutely delighted to be joining such a fantastic club with an amazing set of fans and a wonderful history.

"I want to thank the manager and owners at Nottingham Forest for the great opportunity to play for this club in their first season back in the Premier League. I'm really excited to work with everyone at the club from the manager, players and goalkeeper coach Danny Alcock.

"Finally, just a massive thank you to the fans for the welcome I have received and I can't wait to celebrate some brilliant moments together this coming season."

Forest head coach Steve Cooper added: "Dean is a top-class goalkeeper and he's hungry for more opportunities to play and to continue to prove himself at the highest level.

"He's played multiple times in the Premier League but has also experienced the Champions League and international football.

"Again, Dean is someone who has attracted a lot of interest from other clubs and we're delighted that he has chosen to Nottingham Forest for our return to the Premier League."

Henderson is the second arrival of the window at the City Ground, with forward Taiwo Awoniyi having joined from Union Berlin.

Forest defeated Huddersfield Town in May's Championship play-off final to earn promotion back to the Premier League for the first time since 1999.

Cooper's side start their campaign at Newcastle United on August 6.

Brazil star Neymar is reportedly interested in a move to the Premier League after being informed Paris Saint-Germain will not stand in his way if he wishes to depart.

ESPN is reporting that Neymar's agent has been in touch with Chelsea to gauge their interest in bringing in the 30-year-old, who scored 13 goals and added six assists in 22 Ligue 1 contests this past season.

While Neymar's talent is not in question, his health may be, having missed over two months of this campaign after suffering an ankle injury, and that is coming off a 2020-21 season where he only played 18 league games due to ankle and adductor injuries.


TOP STORY – NEYMAR WEIGHS UP CHELSEA MOVE AS PSG GIVE GREEN LIGHT

ESPN's report mentions that Neymar's agent, Pini Zahavi, believes there are only "two or three teams" that would be able to meet his wage demands, and it is thought that Chelsea are hoping to make a splash under the new ownership of Todd Boehly.

Spanish publication Sport claims Neymar activated a clause in his PSG contract as soon as he possibly could on July 1 to add one extra year to his deal – tying him to the French giants until 2027 – but that does not rule out a move happening.

Chelsea's Brazilian centre-back and Neymar's former PSG team-mate Thiago Silva has been vocal about his desire to recruit the superstar forward, but his salary of €43million could stand in the way if the Stamford Bridge club decide they would rather use this transfer period's resources in defence.


ROUND-UP

– The Star is reporting that Manchester United are closing in on a deal with Christian Eriksen as his contract with Brentford has expired and he is available on a free transfer.

– Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele is expected to leave on a free transfer, with Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich the three teams listed by Marca as his potential landing spots.

Everton are hoping to replace Richarlison with Watford striker Emmanuel Dennis after their Brazilian forward departed for Tottenham this week.

– According to The Sun, Fulham are finalising a £17million move for 26-year-old Sporting defensive midfielder Joao Palhinha.

– ESPN is reporting Fulham have offered £10m for Manchester United's Andreas Pereira as the 26-year-old returns from his loan stint with Flamengo.

Jamie Carragher has praised Liverpool for figuring out a way to re-sign Mohamed Salah for another three years, believing the team had to do whatever they could to retain the "Liverpool legend".

Salah, 30, is coming off a season where he led the Premier League in both goals (23, tied with Son Heung-min) and assists (13), but there were rumours swirling about the club potentially looking to cash in on him with a transfer if he indicated he would not sign an extension.

Ultimately the deal got done, with Salah now tied to the club on a wage of £350,000 per week until the end of the 2024-25 season.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Carragher said it would have been painful to see Sadio Mane and Salah depart in quick succession, and that the sale of Divock Origi likely gave Liverpool the financial flexibility to meet their Egyptian star's demands.

"Losing Mane, it was sad to see that front three break up," he said. "Lots of Liverpool fans over the last few months were kind of resigned to the fact that Salah might see out the last 12 months of his contract and then move on. 

"Perhaps the club were not maybe prepared to go the numbers he wanted or he felt he deserved, and he would leave the club.

"But I think the fact that Origi has moved on and Mane has moved on, and Liverpool have brought in maybe one attacking player who is on similar sorts of wages [in Darwin Nunez]. I think the fact that two have gone and one has come in means that they could maybe get closer to the numbers Salah wanted.

"I think everyone is just delighted Salah has signed, and fingers crossed he produces over the next three years what he has produced over the last five years – and I am sure that he can."

Carragher went on to discuss how it was a change in the club's spending strategy, but a necessary one when you have a talent as rare as Salah.

"Liverpool have never really gone to that level in terms of numbers, certainly under [owners Fenway Sports Group]" he said. 

"I think that a lot of Liverpool fans respect that model because it has brought a lot of success to the club, so they almost accept how they go about things – not just with player contracts, but also with signing players.

"I don't think there would have been much criticism if Salah had left, but I think now and again when you have someone as special as Salah, the rule that you have to have in place, you have to certainly bend them. 

"Maybe not necessarily break them, but you have to maybe go closer to a position that maybe you don't want to.

"Salah is already a Liverpool legend – and if he'd moved on in 12 months, he'd have still been a legend. 

"What players like him, Alisson, Van Dijk, Mane – how they've changed the face of Liverpool Football Club along with the manager means they will all be legends no matter when they move on for the club and for whatever reason they move on from the club.

"I think the supporters are very thankful for what these players have given. Salah will finish his time in the top five or six players ever to have played for the club."

Sven Botman is hoping to help Newcastle United in their goal to "get to the top" after finalising his move from Lille.

Newcastle confirmed earlier this week a deal, worth a reported upfront cost of £31.8million (€37m), had been reached with Lille to sign the central defender.

That transfer was made official on Friday, with the ambitious Premier League club seeing off interest from a number of other teams, including Serie A champions Milan.

Netherlands Under-21 international Botman becomes Newcastle's third signing of the window following the permanent capture of Matt Targett and the arrival of Nick Pope.

Eddie Howe's side continue to be linked with an array of other players, and Botman is confident he has made the right choice in moving to St James' Park.

"I'm really happy – delighted – and I can't wait to start this new adventure," Botman, who penned a five-year contract, told Newcastle's official website. 

"This is the best day of my life, to sign a contract with Newcastle United. It's a day I've worked hard for and I'm very excited.

"Newcastle had a long-term plan to get to the top, for both me and for the club, and they play in the Premier League which is the best league in Europe. 

"The whole package is just perfect. I'm looking forward now to meeting the fans and also my new team-mates."

Newcastle may reportedly pay up to £35m for Botman, which would make him their third-most expensive signing behind Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton (both £40m).

Botman won the Ligue 1 title during his two years with Lille, having previously emerged through Ajax's youth system without making a competitive senior appearance.

"I'm delighted Sven is joining us. He is technically very good, physically very good and has a great attitude," Newcastle boss Howe added.

"At 22, he already has solid experience at the top level but he is at a great age to grow with this team. 

"I am looking forward to getting to work with him and seeing him with his new team-mates."

Newcastle begin their 2022-23 Premier League season at home against newly promoted Nottingham Forest on August 6.

Jurgen Klopp put the Premier League and Europe's elite on notice when he warned Mohamed Salah's best years at Liverpool are still to come.

Superstar forward Salah has ended speculation about his short-term future by signing a three-year contract with the Reds, news that manager Klopp said "makes me smile thinking about it".

It means there is no danger of the Egyptian walking away as a free agent at the end of the 2022-23 season, and with the deal agreed before the start of the new campaign, there should be no more distractions when it comes to the 30-year-old's future.

Salah has had five successful seasons at Anfield already, helping Liverpool win the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, EFL Cup, Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup. Inevitably, this had drawn admiring glances from the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona.

His arrival from Roma has been one of the best pieces of business during Klopp's reign, and now Salah is staying around to spearhead the push for more success.

Klopp said he was "really pleased – really, really pleased", adding: "It's the best decision for us and best decision for him. He belongs with us, I think. This is his club now.

"I have no doubt Mo's best years are still to come. And that's saying something, because the first five seasons here have been the stuff of legend."

Speaking to Liverpool's official website, Klopp raved about the physical power of Salah, an often overlooked aspect of his game. His silky skills and finishing prowess grab the focus, with Salah scoring 31 goals and adding 15 assists in 51 games last season.

However, Klopp said: "Fitness-wise, he's a machine – in the most incredible shape. He works hard on it, and he gets his rewards. His ability and his skill level gets higher each season, and his decision-making has gone to another level also.

"He is adored by his team-mates. As coaches, we know we work with someone special. And the supporters have crowned him a king. So, very cool.

"It is just great news. It makes me smile thinking about it. He stays with us for longer, and it means we can achieve more together."

Liverpool fell agonisingly short of an unprecedented quadruple last season, winning the FA Cup and EFL Cup before losing to Real Madrid in the Champions League final and being denied the Premier League title by Manchester City on a dramatic final day of that campaign.

All the time, doubts lingered over whether Salah would make a long-term commitment to Liverpool, or whether he might soon move on.

"Of course it has taken a little time," said Klopp, "but that's absolutely okay, and the best things are always worth waiting for anyway.

"Mo is one of the best players in the world; it's only normal there are things to sort when you are at his level."

Klopp said sporting director Julian Ward and Fenway Sports Group president Mike Gordon deserved "big credit" for getting the deal over the line.

"This is a special treat for our supporters to enjoy their weekend even more," said Liverpool's German manager. "I'm sure there will be some celebrations for this news tonight."

Mohamed Salah committed his long-term future to Liverpool on Friday by signing a new three-year deal.

The Egypt international was due to be out of contract at the end of the upcoming season, leading to strong links with a move away from Anfield.

However, out of the blue, Salah has penned an extension to – temporarily, at least – bring an end to speculation over his future.

After losing Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich, albeit with Darwin Nunez signed as a replacement of sorts, tying down Salah is a major boost for Liverpool ahead of the new season.

Here, Stats Perform looks at just how important Salah has been for Liverpool over the past five years, and how his record compares to Europe's other elite attackers.

ALREADY AMONG LIVERPOOL GREATS

It is difficult to remember now, but Salah's arrival from Roma in a deal rising to £43million raised more than a few eyebrows due to his disappointing earlier spell with Chelsea.

Six major honours later, including one as a key part in the club's first Premier League title triumph, and Salah will go down as one of Liverpool's all-time greats.

The 30-year-old has made 254 appearances for the Reds in total, 235 of those being starts, and has scored 156 goals while assisting 58 more.

Those 156 goals rank him ninth on the list of Liverpool's record scorers, with considerable ground to make up on Ian Rush at the top of that list with 346 goals.


CLOSING IN ON GERRARD RECORD

Salah might struggle to overhaul Rush, but he will also have another record in his sights when the 2022-23 campaign gets up and running next month.

With 164 direct goal involvements in the Premier League, Salah trails only Steven Gerrard (212) among Reds players in the competition in that regard.

Indeed, only two players from Europe's top five leagues have scored and assisted more goals across the same period – Robert Lewandowski (184) and Lionel Messi (200).

Kylian Mbappe, seen by many as the most desirable player in world football, is fourth on that list on 163 goal involvements, while Ciro Immobile is fifth with 159.


PREMIER LEAGUE PEDIGREE

Salah has scored 118 goals for Liverpool in the Premier League alone, which is 13 more than next-best Harry Kane among all clubs since the start of the 2017-18 season.

Those strikes have helped Salah to three Golden Boot awards – only Arsenal legend Thierry Henry (4) has finished top of the competition's scoring charts more often.

The former Basel forward also ranks top for minutes per goal among those to have played at least 100 times (126 minutes per goal), shots (678) and touches in the opposition box (1,575).

However, one metric he does not lead is assists, with Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne boasting 58 to Salah's 46.


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Salah's output has been consistent across his five years at Anfield, starting between 45 and 49 games a season and registering double figures for assists in all but one of those campaigns.

He has remained a prolific scorer throughout, with a high of 44 goals in the 2017-18 season and a low – but still respectable – 23 in the 2019-20 campaign. The latter was the season when Liverpool won the Premier League.

The Al Mokawloon youth product has managed 31 goals in each of the past two seasons, while the 15 assists registered last season was a career-high.

All that suggests Salah is far from finished on Merseyside, and with a new three-year deal signed, Liverpool fans have plenty more to look forward to from their 'Egyptian king'.

Mohamed Salah landed a bumper new contract through to 2025 and vowed to repay Liverpool's belief in him by firing Jurgen Klopp's Reds to more trophies.

Uncertainty over the Egyptian forward's future had lingered for months, with no clear sign of a breakthrough in negotiations between the club and the player's representatives until a deal was announced on Friday.

With Sadio Mane being allowed to leave for Bayern Munich since the end of last season, the importance of securing Salah was ramped up, and now the 30-year-old has confirmed he will stay at Anfield.

He could have walked away at the end of the 2022-23 season on a free transfer, had he not agreed to new terms, but that worrying prospect has been quashed.

With at least three years more to come of his Anfield career, Salah is convinced he and Liverpool can enjoy huge success in that time.

They threatened a quadruple last term before just missing out to Manchester City in the Premier League title race and losing 1-0 to Real Madrid in the Champions League final, having already pouched the FA Cup and EFL Cup.

Salah said of his new deal: "It takes a little bit of time, I think, to renew, but now everything is done so we just need to focus on what’s next.

"I think you can see in the last five or six years the team was always going [upwards]. Last season we were close to winning four, but unfortunately in the last week of the season we lost two trophies.

"I think we are in a good position to fight for everything. We have new signings as well. We just need to keep working hard, have a good vision, be positive and go for everything again."

In an interview for Liverpool's official website, Salah spoke of the departure of Mane to the Bundesliga and the arrival of Uruguayan frontman Darwin Nunez from Benfica, as manager Jurgen Klopp shuffles his pack.

"I'm so excited, I want to play with him," Salah said of Nunez. "He had a good season last season and played well against us home and away [in the Champions League].

"Sadio's leaving, and I'm going to miss him, he had great seasons with the club, so I wish him all the best, and I wish Darwin also all the best to score many goals for us."

Salah had a stellar 2021-22 campaign, finishing level with Tottenham's Son Heung-min in the race to be the Premier League's top scorer, while also managing the most assists in the competition, racking up 13 to finish one ahead of team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold.

It was the third time that Salah has won the Premier League's Golden Boot, having also been top scorer in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 campaigns.

He won the FWA Footballer of the Year and the PFA Players' Player of the Year awards, and taking all competitions into account finished the campaign with 31 goals and 15 assists in 51 appearances, creating 87 scoring chances.

Across his five-season Liverpool career to date, Salah has managed 118 Premier League goals, at an average of one every 126 minutes, a league-best for players who have played at least 100 games in that time.

Salah had been linked with the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid, but Friday's announcement means the former Roma and Chelsea forward's stint with Liverpool is far from over, as he prepares for a sixth season with the Reds.

In a message to supporters, Salah said Liverpool would "try to win all the trophies" in the new campaign.

Hugo Ekitike may end up staying at Reims in this transfer window as he waits on a move to Real Madrid or Barcelona.

Newcastle United have long since agreed a deal with Reims for the forward, but the transfer has not progressed further.

Reports have suggested the demands of Ekitike's agent have put off Newcastle, while the 20-year-old has continued to be linked to other clubs.

And Oscar Garcia, the Reims coach, revealed on Friday the player is in no hurry to leave.

Wantaway Reims stars are said to have a July 10 deadline to secure moves, and with purported interest from Madrid subsequently dismissed, Ekitike's short-term future could still be in Ligue 1.

Garcia told a news conference: "He told me that he wanted to stay, but if Real Madrid or Barcelona arrive...

"I feel Hugo is calm. I spoke with him. He will have no problem staying at the club – and neither will I."

 

Ekitike scored 10 goals and assisted three more in the league last season, contributing a goal involvement every 98 minutes on average.

Attempting only 31 shots, his conversion rate of 32.3 per cent was the second-best among players with 20 or more attempts across Europe, far outperforming his expected goals total of 7.0.

As well as Newcastle and Madrid, Ekitike has been linked with Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain.

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