Liverpool know just how to deal with absurd bid as Mohamed Salah proves Bayern Munich audacity

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What do you think they’re smoking over there at the Allianz Arena?

FSG certainly have experience dealing with derisory transfer bids. Bayern Munich might have raised their Sadio Mané offer by more than the that 1 that Arsenal famously placed on top of their. 40m Luis Suárez proposal, but they are still pushing their luck. Liverpool have rightly rejected these latest advances out of hand, and Mohamed Salah proves why that is.

The exact details of the second bid have been reported by the Mirror. Technically, Bayern Munich raised their offer to £ 30m, but they got there via a series of ridiculously onerous add-ons. The pick of the bunch was a clause that would only kick in once Mané won three Ballons d’Or.

Three Ballons d’Or, Bayern? That’s insane. After all, only three Bayern Munich players have ever picked up the sport’s most prestigious individual award: Gerd Müller, Franz Beckenbauer and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. Two of them won it twice, but never has there been a triple winner from Bavaria.

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Having a look at the season just gone helps illustrate the ludicrousness of the condition. Mané scored the winning penalty to earn Senegal its first ever Africa Cup of Nations triumph. He was then crucial again in taking them to the World Cup. At club level, he won two trophies, reached the Champions League final and helped Liverpool to another 90+ point finish in the Premier League. Will he win a Balloon d’Or for his troubles? Almost certainly not.

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Mané is second in the running, but Karim Benzema is the 1/20 favorite. The Frenchman is considered a near-certainty for the award. As is so often the case, the Champions League is king.

Even if Mané were to win this year Ballon d’Or, leaving him with ‘just’ another two to collect before Bayern consented to fork up another couple of million quid to Liverpool, the odds would still be stacked astronomically against him. Just ask Salah. The Egyptian finished seventh last season, despite keeping pace with Lionel Messi almost stride for stride.

Were it not for a hattrick of Messi set-ups on the eve of the award, Salah would have had an identical tally of both goals and assists when the 2021 Ballon d’Or was handed out. Apparently, those three assists were worth around 140 votes each – and that’s ignoring the reality that voting had closed long before the Argentine pulled ahead.

Robert Lewandowski had even more reason to be aggrieved, having scored more than Salah and Messi – and having been deprived of a near-certain award when the pandemic caused the 2020 Ballon d’Or to be cancelled. Bayern Munich, therefore, are all too familiar with the whims of the vote.

The nature of a vote which polls journalists from 180 countries is that name recognition and subconscious biases are major factors. The fact that Cristiano Ronaldo managed to finish above Salah last year is all the evidence needed. And the Egyptian is a major brand in his own right – the comparatively lower profile of Mané will simply not be able to cut through the noise.

Changes are being made to the Ballon d’Or, something Salah knows is long overdue. The award will now be judged over a standard European season, rather than a calendar year. The unusual use of a year-long timeframe could have been something which made the award unique, but it was routinely disregarded in practice – now there might at least be some consistency. Just as significantly, votes will be limited to representatives from the top 100 FIFA-ranked nations.

But none of this is radical enough to give Mané a shot at winning it three times over. Bayern Munich could have offered an extra £ 500m upon the completion of this condition and Liverpool would still have been right to reject it ‘out of hand’. FSG are not the kind of owners to agree to wild Ballon d’Or bets – especially when Salah has already exposed the award’s major flaws.

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