The Curse of Signing New Huge Contracts: How Mohamed Salah, Aubameyang, Dele Alli's Form Dipped

The Curse of Signing New Huge Contracts: How Mohamed Salah, Aubameyang, Dele Alli's Form Dipped

  • Salah signed a new contract at Liverpool making him the best-paid player at the club
  • His performances this season haven't been great as Jurgen Klopp's side continues to struggle
  • He joins a list of players who struggled to perform after getting new bumper contracts

Mohamed Salah's mini downfall this season hasn't gone unnoticed. When a regular goalscorer in the Premier League in the last five seasons fails to score with the same aplomb and consistency, there are bound to be some questions.

Salah has scored only seven goals this season in the Premier League. Now, depending on who you are, seven goals isn't such a bad return. Just ask Chelsea fans. But for Salah, that's way off his usual standards.

Delle Alli, Mohamed Salah, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil
Mohamed Salah reacts during Liverpool's game vs Wolves on January 17th, 2023. Photo by Marc Atkins.
Source: Getty Images

Perhaps it doesn't help that the robot masquerading as a human being in Erling Haaland has taken all the plaudits this season. So good has the Norwegian been that Harry Kane's 16 goals so far aren't talked about or Ivan Toney's 13 goals for a club that's not part of the traditional big six.

Players whose forms dipped

The lazy interpretation would be to link Salah's misfortunes to his recent bumper contract that saw him become the best-paid player in Liverpool's history. But if you go further back, you'd realise there's more than meets the eye. A couple of players have dropped off significantly after putting to paper new bumper deals.

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For lack of a better word, we call it the curse of signing new huge deals. Sports Brief looks at this slightly unfounded coincidence but worrying trend.

1. Salah

As already mentioned, Salah's levels have dropped significantly this season. By this time last season, the Egyptian was already on 15 goals enroute to winning another Golden Boot.

His loss of form has coincided with arguably Jurgen Klopp's worst start to a season as Red's boss. The confidence to turn the ball with his left foot and find the top corner seems to have vanished. Much of the emphasis has been on Darwin Nunez's profligacy but the Egyptian has missed sitters as well.

He might be the joint-top scorer in the Champions League this season but more than half of his seven-goal tally came against Rangers.

The 30-year-old has been outscored by the likes of Miguel Almiron and Rodrigo this season. One could argue that he has been starved of the creative services due to a flat injury-ravaged Liverpool side, but he hasn't done much with the chances he has gotten either.

Liverpool faithful will be hoping he can turn his new three-year 350,000 euros per week contract into a blessing soon enough.

2. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

The then Arsenal captain was handed a contract similar to Salah's after chipping in with vital goals during Gunner's run to FA Cup and Community Shield victories.

He started off brightly with a goal against Fulham in the 2020/2021 campaign but as the season progressed, his predatory nature in front of goal went away.

Delle Alli, Mohamed Salah, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil
Former Arsenal captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Photo by NurPhoto.
Source: Getty Images

He then had disciplinary issues with Mikel Arteta finally freezing him out of the squad before Barcelona came due to his rescue in early 2022.

3. Mesut Ozil

With Ozil, just like Aubameyang, it goes beyond the curse of a new contract. One might argue that it was Arteta's ruthlessness that pushed them out of the club.

But you can't ignore the new deal he was given after the Russian World Cup in 2018. 350,000 euros weekly to become the best-paid player at the club.

Those who know Ozil know that the German will go down as one of the most creative players of all time. The 'Assist King.' It is always a plus when a midfielder can score as well as create. A good case in point is the Champions League goal he scored against Ludogorets.

Delle Alli, Mohamed Salah, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil scores 'that' goal against Ludogorets on November 1st 2016. Photo by NurPhoto.
Source: Getty Images

His contract renewal was a huge relief to the fans especially after seeing Alexis Sanchez leave for Manchester United. But that happiness didn't last.

New manager Unia Emery constantly voiced his frustrations at Ozil's 'lack of commitment and fitness issues.' After Emery's sacking, Freddie Ljungberg restored him to the side but quickly dropped him thereafter. The final straw came when he refused to get a pay cut during the COVID-19 pandemic. The club tried to sell him, but his huge wages were a stumbling block.

4. Dele Alli

Dele Alli's fall to grass is a sorry sight. Touted to become the next Wayne Rooney of English football, Alli made a grand entry into football and was voted the PFA Young Player of the Year in his first two seasons with Spurs.

Compared to other names on this list, Alli's new contract in 2018 saw him rise to a weekly wage of 'just' 150,000 euros. But after that increment, the daredevil in Alli disappeared and in came the lethargic patch.

Delle Alli, Mohamed Salah, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil
Former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli. Photo by DeFodi Images.
Source: Getty Images

Jose Mourinho's ringing and chilling advice to Alli in Amazon's All or Nothing documentary have always provided the basis whenever Alli's story is written.

Mourinho was of the idea that Alli had fallen off and he needed to put in the work to reclaim his younger self. Omissions from the squad by Mourinho and his successor Antonio Conte saw him leave for Everton. Conte's last words on Alli were players who leave him 'always go down, not up.'

The now 26-year-old is in Besiktas where he has also failed to land a regular starting berth. It looks like a long way back for Alli but at 26, he can jumpstart his career. The only question is at which club?

Source: Sports Brief News