With a red baseball cap perched on his head and Liverpool a scarf wrapped around his neck, Sadio Mane He waved to the adoring crowd during Sunday’s parade around town in an open-top bus. In his mind, this was goodbye.
The Senegal The international, who has only 12 months left on his contract, decided the time was right to pursue a new challenge this summer after six years at Anfield. Bayern Munich are strong candidates for his signature as they target a replacement for outgoing Robert Lewandowski.
It’s not the news Liverpool fans wanted to hear against the backdrop of a devastating Saturday Champions League The final defeat of Real Madrid In Paris.
if Mohamed Salah The first half of the season lit up, the second half belonged to Mane. He scored 13 of his 23 goals after his triumphant return from Senegal to glory in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Mane thrived after being moved to the ninth round by Jurgen Klopp after arriving Luis Diaz from Porto. Earlier this month his manager called him a “machine” and “world class” after he kept the title race alive by driving home the winning away to Aston Villa.
Prior to that, he had made a host of vital contributions – from the equalizer in Al Ittihad to the match-winning double against Manchester In the FA Cup semi-finals. In the Champions League, he scored away from home for Benfica in the first leg of the quarter-finals and then in the first-leg of the semi-finals against Villarreal.
The 30-year-old has proven beyond doubt that he still has a lot to offer. It was a power emitting rather than fading away.
Having failed to agree an extension with him over the course of this season, Liverpool have realized there is always a risk that another member of the European elite will take advantage of the situation and turn their head.
What if Mane gets his wish and moves on to Bundesliga Depends on the type of fee Bayern is willing to pay. New sporting director Julian Ward will lead a tough deal. There are no guarantees.
High-level sources at Anfield have rejected suggestions in Germany that a deal could be struck for around €30m (£25.5m). Liverpool think it would be better to hold Mane for another 12 months and lose it for nothing in 2023 than to do business for it. Liverpool value him at around €50m (£42.5m) and they will need a suitable replacement before agreeing to the sale.
with Divock Origi Leave in free transfer to AC Milan And Liverpool are ready to listen to the offers of the Japan international Takumi MinaminoThey definitely need at least one more striker. Arrival of Fabio Carvalho from Fulham It will help but it would be wrong to expect too much too soon from a teen.
Mane’s departure would mark the end of an era at Anfield. It was Klopp’s first transformational signature. The injection of quality he gave after his transfer of 34 million pounds Southampton In 2016, he helped Liverpool restore the luster of the Champions League. This gave them the wealth and the ability to attract Mo Salah first and then Virgil van Dijk And the Alison.
Having initially played on the right, Mane showed his versatility by turning left to accommodate Salah. Now it is just an achievement in the middle of the process. Few possess his skill set.
The powerful three-pronged attack he formed with Salah and Roberto Firmino Liverpool launched both the Champions League and Premier League Glory.
Next month, Salah will turn 30. Mane reached his historic birthday in April, and Firmino will turn 31 in October. All three have deals that run through 2023 and dealing with the status of their contracts has been an ongoing dilemma.
Renewing all three was always unlikely since it would involve allocating huge amounts of money into wages in their mid-30s. Allowing all three to leave in the same window would always be seen as inconsequential given the challenge of trying to replace them all at once. She had to stagger.
Retaining Salah was a priority for the owners but talks stalled in the middle of the current season. Al Masry is not going anywhere this summer, but unless a compromise is reached, he will leave as a free agent at the end of 2022-23.
Klopp’s offensive line has evolved over the past two years with the influence of the first Diogo Jota Then Diaz. The old guard has already been dismantled. Liverpool’s record in the transfer market makes you support the recruitment staff to select another gem.
But if this is the end of the road for Mane at Anfield, he will be sorely missed. Only 13 players in the club’s history have managed to improve its score of 120 goals. He is a legend for what he achieved at Liverpool, but the grief will also stem from the belief that there is so much left in the tank. This is not a young player seeking greater involvement elsewhere, this is the man who led the streak in the biggest game in club football.
“Come back to me after Saturday and I’ll give you the best answer you want to hear, sure. It’s special,” Mane smiled at the media day last week at the AXA Training Center when asked about his future. “I will give you whatever you want to hear next.”
Mane didn’t stop talking to the media after the Champions League final, but his mind was already made up. He has given Liverpool so much for so long that his legacy will remain. He will always be welcomed with open arms. If Bayern get their player, Liverpool will have some big boots to fill.
(Image: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
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