Will Liverpool’s Sadio Mané leave the team? Where is he going?
The Senegalese forward has been one of the key stars of Jürgen Klopp’s all-conquering Red machine, but has he played his final game for them?
It’s been a rather incredible season for Liverpool FC and their fans. The Anfield club, under the guidance of Jürgen Klopp, managed to fulfil every fixture available to them, an unprecedented achievement and one that saw them go head-to-head with Manchester City until the final seconds in the 38-game race for the Premier League title, just losing out.
The two domestic cups were already in the cabinet by that time - both won on penalties and both against Chelsea - before the last showdown of the campaign, as the Reds targeted a seventh European Cup. It wasn’t to be, with Real Madrid somehow surviving the dominance of an opponent once again, but Klopp and co aim to ‘go again’ after a much-needed summer rest period. And one of the questions being asked is which of the mainstays in the successful team in recent years will still be there.
Sadio Mané: a Liverpool star on the verge of leaving?
One of Liverpool’s greatest attributes since the German coach put his own stamp on the team has been its attacking flair and relentlessness. Few defences have managed to repel wave after wave of press and counter with the likes of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané carrying out the manager’s instructions in style. And while the focus over the past year has been on the future of the Egyptian record goal-scorer, his Senegalese strike partner’s situation has gone somewhat under the radar, until now.
Following the Champions League final defeat Mané's comments were taken as a goodbye: “I’d like to thank the fans for everything and the coach as well. I wish this club the best in the world.”
With just a year left on his contract, the time may be right for all concerned that he moves on. Liverpool fans will, of course, miss him, especially given that the second half of the season - after an African Cup of Nations triumph - has seen a resurgence from him, while Salah has been relatively quiet over this period. He did his damage on opposition defences in a blistering first half of the campaign.
Now 30, Mané has been strongly linked with a move to the Bundesliga giants, Bayern Munich. That said, their reported initial offer of €30 million is well short of Liverpool’s valuation of around €50 million, with suggestions that they’d rather get another season out the rarely-injured player and let him go for nothing if they cannot get the money needed to aid purchasing a replacement.
Whoever that replacement is, and remembering that Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz have already settled in nicely to a three-pronged attack, the importance of Mané to the return of The Reds to the top of English and European football will not be forgotten any time soon.