Ever since "reports" suggested that Mario Götze was inclined to take his cherubic smile and his collection of form-fitting swim trunks to somewhere other than Anfield, there has been no shortage of alternatives linked with Liverpool. One of the slightly less outlandish names that surfaced at the time was Southampton's Sadio Mané, though a combination of rumored interest from rivals with deep pockets, a hefty price tag and a complete lack of any noise from anyone that mattered led to those headlines going nowhere.
But you can't keep a good rumor down, and the Southampton winger is back in Liverpool's transfer news. Southampton are still unwilling to listen to offers of less than £25 million and are confident a strong market for Mané's services will emerge, so this time, Liverpool are purportedly seeking to bridge the valuation gap by offering a young prospect as a makeweight. That player is none other than Jordon Ibe.
It would not be outside the realm of possibility for Liverpool to be taking a look at Mané as an alternative to Götze, notwithstanding the fact that the two players bring somewhat different skill sets to the table. Mané has been a productive player in spells for Southampton since his arrival from Red Bull Salzburg (certainly whenever they play Liverpool), and is about the same age as Götze, without boasting quite the same glittering resumé as the World Cup winner and Bayern Munich player.
Even assuming, however, that Ibe has been deemed surplus to requirements by Klopp, there are a couple of considerations that will likely keep this rumor at nothing more than a simmer for the near term. First is the amount of cash reportedly being offered by Liverpool in addition to Ibe. If Southampton truly value Mané at £25 million, an offer of Ibe plus £10 million is not likely to quicken pulses in the boardroom at St. Mary's.
A greater complicating factor is likely to be Southampton's managerial situation. Ronald Koeman is this close to being announced as Everton's new manager, which means any transfer activity involving Southampton may be held up by the appointment of the new manager at St. Mary's. In any event, it's unlikely that this is the last Liverpool supporters hear of Sadio Mané during this upcoming transfer window.