Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard must accept a significant drop in wages if he wants to stay at Anfield, with senior club officials demanding that his £150,000-a-week salary is cut by nearly 50 per cent to £80,000-a-week.
According to The Sun, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is keen to keep the 34-year-old midfielder as part of his first-team squad on Merseyside beyond his current deal which expires at the end of the season, but will have to convince the inspirational skipper to consent to a significant loss of earnings.
Gerrard will be able to make up some of that cash shortfall with an appearance-based bonus scheme, however, it still remains to be seen how the shock news will be received by the former England international and his team of representatives.
Liverpool will try to sweeten the deal with the offer of some coaching responsibilities as part of Rodgers's backroom team, or alternatively an ambassadorial role if Gerrard decides against a post-playing career in management.
The one-club man is understandably keen to stay at Anfield and see out the remainder of his career, something that the two-year extension - with the option of a third - would allow him to do.
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However, if Gerrard feels that he could earn significantly more money elsewhere, then he might be tempted to take up a new challenge, similar to the one recently embarked on by former Three Lions team-mate Frank Lampard.
The ex-Chelsea star left Stamford Bridge during the summer to sign for newly formed MLS franchise New York City, and was later presented with a surprise opportunity to return to the Premier League with Manchester City.
Gerrard wouldn't look right in anything other than Liverpool colours
Liverpool fans would be understandably heartbroken to see Gerrard turn out in England's top-flight in rival colours, but will only have their Fenway Sports Group owners to blame for their stubborn reluctance to pay huge wages to older players entering the final stage of their respective careers.
There's no denying that Gerrard's role in the Liverpool first-team is decreasing with each passing season, something that is highlighted by the fact he is set to be rested for tonight's Champions League encounter against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Huge European encounters such as this are the games that the Liverpool veteran used to thrive in, but Rodgers is acutely aware that in order to still get the best out of his skipper he needs to manage his workload, which has increased notably this season following the Reds' return to Europe this term.