Liverpool should be watching Paris Saint-Germain rather anxiously as the 2020/21 season enters its the final stages.
The French giants have again been linked with a move for Mohamed Salah this week and such a prospect could become rather more attractive for the Egyptian with the Parisiens on the verge of ensuring they are no longer European try-hards.
After beating Champions League holders Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals this week, a rematch of last year’s final, Mauricio Pochettino’s men now face Man City in the final four with a final clash against Chelsea or Real Madrid in Istanbul on the horizon.
The fact they trail Lille by three points in the Ligue 1 title race with eight games to go doesn’t matter. If they manage to get their hands on the European Cup, Paris will suddenly become the place to be.
In Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, PSG boast two of Europe’s deadliest forwards. But they also boast two forwards that are desperate to test themselves at a higher level.
Afterall, there’s only so many times you can win the Ligue 1 title.
Formed in 1970, Liverpool had already won seven league titles and an FA Cup before PSG had even kicked a ball in anger.
And while they enjoyed some early success, winning the league in 1986 and 1994, the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1996 and a number of domestic cup triumphs, it is only in recent years they have emerged as a French giant.
Since Qatar Sports Investments bought PSG in 2011, the French giants have won seven league titles from the past nine seasons. And they will still fancy their chances of toppling Lille this year, even with the wanted distraction of the Champions League semi-finals.
Offering hefty wages that are unrivalled across Europe, they have been able to attract the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Edinson Cavani, Angel Di Maria, Dani Alves and Gianluigi Buffon on top of Neymar and Mbappe over the years.
But even with all the domestic success, something is still missing. Elite European trophies.
It is telling that even with the prospect of a second-successive Champions League final in sight, Mbappe and Neymar are no closer to committing their futures to the club.
At just 22-years of age, Mbappe wants to make a career-defining move ahead of the peak years of his career.
Meanwhile at 29, Neymar has realised that stepping out Lionel Messi’s shadow by moving to Paris was not exactly the wisest career choice if he really wanted to become the best player in the world and win the Ballon d’Or.
Afterall, no-one dreams of playing for PSG. No-one dreams of playing in Ligue 1. It is just a stepping stone to the dizzying heights of Real Madrid or Barcelona.
At a push, Juventus. And it’s what Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City are all striving to achieve.
Without Qatari funds, there would be no Neymar, Mbappe and Di Maria in Paris. There would have been no Ibrahimovic, Silva, Cavani, Alves or Buffon.
And if not for these players, you wouldn’t see kids dressed in PSG shirts across the continent.
But that is what makes such links to Salah somewhat curious.
The Egyptian has flirted with both the exit door and the possibility of a new contract this year, twice conducting interviews with Spanish media as he addressed links to both Barcelona and Real Madrid.
But reports this week have suggested the Liverpool forward is concerned that the Reds view his future differently and may consider cashing in on him this summer despite the fact he won’t push for a transfer away.
It appears that even with the club’s faltering campaign, the 28-year-old realises how fortunate he is to be at Anfield after winning both the Premier League and Champions League with the club.
Links to PSG have seen him suggested as a replacement for Mbappe and it would make sense for the French giants with them well-aware they won’t be able to keep hold of the World Cup winner forever.
Such a deal would follow in the footsteps of signing Ibrahimovic, Alves and Buffon by signing an elite player but one whose best days are arguably no longer in front of him.
It could even make sense for Liverpool with PSG one of the few clubs still capable of paying top-dollar for players in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and with the Reds potentially contemplating cashing in at a time when they would be able to bring in maximum profit to help rebuild their slowly ageing squad.
But would it make sense for Salah? Challenging for a third Premier League Golden Boot in four years in Ligue 1, he would no doubt score countless goals in Ligue 1 and add multiple titles to his collection.
Yet the forward is a highly-competitive individual, driven by proving himself at that highest level and determined to lift team and individual trophies rather than chase the biggest contract possible.
Dare we say it, Ligue 1 would be too easy for Salah? He is the one of the Premier League’s deadliest finishers and no doubt enjoys proving himself in the most fiercely-contested and competitive league.
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If PSG were able to win the Champions League, that could well propel them up the food-chain.
But Neymar’s own plight should act as a warning to Salah should he consider such a move.
You can take home the highest pay-packet in world football but lifting one Premier League title means more than half-a-dozen Ligue 1 titles.
Afterall it’s the most-watched league in the world and such glamour is second to none.
Sure, Barcelona and Real Madrid would have the potential to lure the Egypitan away. It’s what they have done countless times to countless clubs before. But their financial struggles are well-known.
So if he can’t win trophies with such giants in Spain, he’s not going to achieve a higher stage than Liverpool.
And it appears from recent murmurings that Salah is beginning to realise exactly that.
But such an epiphany could have come too late, as both Liverpool and PSG look to the future.