How do you replace a player like Mohamed Salah? The short answer to that is you don’t. It just isn’t possible.
Some will dispute it, but the 31-year-old is the best winger in Premier League history.
Salah scored his 200th goal in English football during the 3-0 win over Brentford, he’s a three-time Golden Boot winner and he’s averaged 23 goals Premier League per season across his six campaigns with the Reds. He has the longevity, the goals and the moments to justify his place in any and all best XIs.
Yet come the end of the current season, Salah will have just 12 months left on his current deal at Anfield. The Saudi Pro League are determined to make him their crown jewel having tried and failed during the last transfer window to tempt him away from Merseyside. They are going to aggressively pursue him and Liverpool might have a decision to make at the end of the 2023/24 season.
There’s every chance he extends but there’s also a world in which a club record fee is accepted and he departs.
The Reds will no doubt have a contingency plan in place. One of the names on their shortlist of replacements for Salah could well be Bryan Mbeumo.
Fans got a closer look at the Brentford speedster last weekend when the Bees made the trip to Anfield. The 24-year-old had the best chance of the game for the away side when he raced clear of Trent Alexander-Arnold and then fluffed his lines when confronted by Alisson. He seemed caught between two minds and didn’t really commit to the lob.
He’d fit right in with this current Liverpool attack though.
Darwin Nuñez has missed 10 big chances this season and Salah is currently on four. The latter is regularly ranked particularly high for this metric. Mbeumo has missed six big chances this term having seen his role in the Brentford attack become much more prominent with Ivan Toney suspended.
The French-born Cameroon international has six goals to his name and has chipped in with two assists. He is just three goals shy of his Premier League best haul of nine and we’re only in November. The Bees have scored 19 goals this term and Mbeumo has been directly involved in 42%.
Nominated for the Premier League's October Player of the Month award (which Salah won), Mbeumo is becoming comfortable as the main man for Thomas Frank’s side.
A left-footed right winger, the No. 19 has explosive pace and great ball-carrying ability. He’s also developing into a serious goal threat too. We’re just 12 games into the season and he already has an Expected Goals haul of 7.2. He’s not heavily reliant on volume - averaging just 2.8 shots per 90 - so there’s every chance his threat scales when in a better side.
He’s created 19 chances this season and has an Expected Assists average of 3.6. Mbeumo is also successful with 63% of the 4.33 dribbles he attempts on a per 90 basis. In a recent column for The Times, Tony Cascarino pushed the idea that Mbeumo could be on Liverpool’s radar.
The former forward wrote: “If Mohamed Salah ever leaves Liverpool, the club should go and buy Bryan Mbeumo as his replacement. At only 24, his best years are ahead of him and he has all the attributes to succeed at a club of Liverpool’s stature: he is versatile, durable and counterattacks with real ferocity.”
Mbeumo is fairly robust and, per Transfermarkt, he hasn’t missed a game through injury during his time in England.
His numbers this season aren’t too far off those being posted by Salah. The Liverpool No. 11 has 10 goals from an Expected Goals total of 9.1. He’s averaging 3.3 shots per 90 and has created 26 chances. He’s registered four assists from an Expected Assists total of 3.3. As a dribbler, he’s not as efficient as his Brentford counterpart, completing just 33% of the 3.5 he attempts.
So, as a goal threat, he isn’t in Salah’s sphere and he might not ever be, but he can replicate other aspects of his game.
The 11-cap international is due a contract renewal soon.
His current deal with Brentford is up in 2026, though the club does have the option to extend by a further 12 months, something they will likely do to protect his value.
Brentford’s late, failed swoop for Johan Bakayoko in the summer transfer window might point towards them readying for life without the Cameroon international.
Mbeumo isn’t as tall as Salah (5ft 7in to the Liverpool attacker’s 5ft 9in) but both are left-footed right-wingers who can play centrally.
Both are explosive over short distances too and have a knack for making those outside to inside runs behind the defensive line.
He’s never been injured for Brentford (and we know how important availability is). Mbeumo also has that all-important Premier League experience, too. A lot of boxes are ticked. He’s nowhere near the finished article just yet but the potential to improve is there.