By Richard Parks
Tony Cascarino has claimed he would rather have Mohamed Salah in his team than superstar Neymar.
The pundit and former striker, who has a regular slot on Sky Sports’ Premier League daily programme, drooled over the Liverpool forward after his latest goalscoring masterclass.
Salah scored four times in the Merseysiders’ 5-0 thrashing of Watford on Saturday to take his goal tally for the season to 36 in all competitions, the highest by any player in a major European League.
“Neymar was signed by Paris Saint-Germain for almost £200 million in the summer. If I had that money now I would spend it on Mohamed Salah — I can’t think of anyone in world football I would rather buy,” Cascarino told the Times.
“He is having an extraordinary season, his scoring is on a par with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and I can’t think of many players who have had such an instant impact.
“The Egypt forward deserves to be compared to the likes of Messi and Ronaldo this season and he betters them in some areas — he works far harder off the ball and, despite being the star man, still chases back and puts in tackles.
“He puts in the work for the team, and the team and system works for him to create so many chances — he is a top scorer but could have had many more. When I think about players who are not strikers but score goals, I think Salah is only behind Messi and Ronaldo but has the potential to be on a similar level. I would certainly have him in my team ahead of Neymar.
“The only thing left now in terms of his career is winning trophies, putting in match-winning displays in big games. If he can get Liverpool to the Champions League final — which would mean beating Manchester City in the quarter-finals — or help them to win the title next season then he will deserve to be considered alongside the very best.”
Football Insider verdict:
Salah’s extraordinary debut season at Liverpool has elevated him into the world’s top 10, a sensational achievement for a player who couldn’t get in the Chelsea team a few years ago. Just like Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku before him, Salah has showed why Jose Mourinho’s judgement is as flawed as his man-management, both of which were two of his primary strengths during his managerial heyday. The Egyptian is a brilliant player and the frightening thing for his opponents is that he is getting better and has the potential to improve. He is resilient and tough, too. These qualities make him a formidable player and Cascarino’s claim he is better than Neymar is far from the outrageous one the Brazilian’s supporters would claim.