Mohamed Salah continues to make headlines as his first season with Liverpool is set to end.
The Egyptian international made a splash for the Merseyside outfit since his arrival and his impressive performances have resulted in multiple awards for him.
Along with the accolades, recent reports have revealed that Spanish clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid are eyeing the star, resulting in many speculating whether he will only have one year at Anfield before moving on to Spain.
And while Salah reaffirmed that his future lies with Liverpool, the Reds’ track record has been unimpressive when Spanish teams have approached them for their players.
If Salah does leave, then it would leave a huge void in Liverpool especially if they are looking to compete for the Premier League and UEFA Champions League in the seasons to come.
However, here are some names that could soften the blow and act as the star’s replacement in the future.
FLORIAN THAUVIN – OLYMPIQUE MARSEILLE
One name that could be considered is Marseille star Florian Thauvin. Plying his trade in Ligue 1, the Frenchman already played for a Premier League club earlier in his career in Newcastle United.
During his time with the Magpies, he was not impressive but has seemingly revived his career in France. This year, Thauvin has scored 20 goals in total, 11 of which are in the league.
His dribbling skills and composure may be likened to Salah, making him a very plausible replacement if needed.
The main difference between Thauvin and Salah is the latter’s strength compared to the Egyptian, but if the Frenchman does return to the Premier League, he could be like Salah and be one of the best.
MALCOM – FC GIRONDINS BORDEAUX
Staying within Ligue 1, Bordeaux Malcom could also be another prospect for Liverpool if Salah departs.
Many consider him as the next Neymar and the 21-year-old has been under the radar of many big European teams after a string of impressive performances.
The Brazilian already has 10 goals and six assists in 33 league appearances this year. At such a young age, many believe that the winger will only grow to be a better and more complete player, something that might come handy in Liverpool.
At the moment he is rated close to €45 million which can rise as he grows older, and this might be the biggest hurdle Liverpool may face if they part with Salah in the future.
NABIL FEKIR – OLYMPIQUE LYONNAIS
Arguably one of the names most linked with Liverpool at the moment, Lyon star Nabil Fekir should be a great addition to the club if Salah departs.
His gifted pace and composure in front of goal makes him an impressive candidate for Liverpool’s lauded attack, and it has shown in his output of 17 goals and six assists in 28 appearances in Ligue 1.
The Frenchman has a very similar style with Salah, with his pace, confidence and physical strength he is likely to make a smooth transition to the Premier League.
Links with Liverpool and Fekir has been made to complement the likes of Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino but if the Egyptian decides to leave, he could take his slot up front.
JULIAN BRANDT – BAYER LEVERKUSEN
A young star who may be on the rise, Bayer Leverkusen player Julian Brandt can also become a fitting replacement if Salah decides to move elsewhere.
At 22 years old, Brandt has the pace to keep the Reds’ attack always threatening and has a neat touch that will always come in handy in the final third of the pitch.
In 33 Bundesliga games, Brandt has scored eight goals and supplied five assists to complement his game.
However some are questioning Brandt’s work ethic and some issues off the pitch; but Jurgen Klopp’s management of his players may see him mature as a player and eventually rise above it to bring out the best in the winger.
PAULO DYBALA – JUVENTUS
Arguably the biggest name on the list, Juventus star Paulo Dybala has undeniable talent and has the resume to back it up.
The 24-year-old star has been incredible for the Serie A club, already scoring 22 goals and having five assists in 31 league games this season.
A constant among the players on the list, Dybala has incredible pace but his technical abilities may separate him from the pack as he has the ability to weave through traffic and split defences when he has possession.
Liverpool’s heavy metal style will work well for Dybala as he is tireless on the pitch and is also very reliable on set pieces.
All these come at a hefty €100 million to his name, but if Salah departs then Liverpool are likely to have the money to pay for another superstar in the club.
Liverpool’s best case scenario is still to keep Salah within the club as they have grown in the season. It is exciting to see how effective they will be once they grow as a team again and having Salah on board should be the priority.
It should be interesting to see how Liverpool can keep suitors away from their best player.