Silly Season is a pseudonym for Transfer Season and that’s cause things get pretty damn weird during transfer season. Tons of money flowing about. New teams rebuilt on the fly. Players claiming new loyalties while abandoning other ones merely minutes old. As the youth say, it’s a lot.
And so it is for Liverpool fans today as reports out of France have reported that Real Madrid are keen on signing Sadio Mane as part of their effort to reclaim the La Liga crown after a lackluster league campaign under now departed manager, Zinedine Zidane. As it stands, this is a lot of smoke and conjecture with no real fire: a source unconnected with either club indicating interest in a superstar player.
That’s not much. Still, considering the importance of Mané to the club’s attack and the fact that among Liverpool’s targets were players that might be able to provide depth behind one or both of Salah and Mané, it’s also not out of the realm that this would give some Reds fans pause. Especially given the recent past and Liverpool’s experience dealing with the losses of Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho to the other Spanish giants.
Breaking | Real Madrid have an agreement in principle with Liverpool winger Sadio Mané, but Zinedine Zidane's departure has put an eventual deal in doubt, according to France Football. More follows.— Get French Football (@GFFN) June 4, 2018
If you’re of the panic-y type then, by all means feel free to re-enact that Sponge Bob gif, but if you’d like to feel the smooth relief of water dousing this mini-fire, check out the following tweets from Dom King and Dave Maddock:
One word from @LFC to describe suggestions Sadio Mane is off to Real Madrid. Nonsense. He has three years left on his contract and there is not a single circumstance where he will be allowed to leave.— David Maddock (@MaddockMirror) June 4, 2018
With regards this story that has popped up about Sadio Mane and Real Madrid, LIverpool have no interest in letting him leave this summer.— Dominic King (@DominicKing_DM) June 4, 2018
Now, we here at TLO have kind of a three-tier system for rumors and while we can’t definitively indicate this as a flagrantly insane rumor, it is still one to be met with incredulity. First, of course it would make sense that a player as good as Sadio Mané might draw interest from a club as big as Madrid.
While Mo and Bobby have taken a bit more shine in the run-in, Sadio has quietly shown that he’s completely adjusted to life as the free-playmaker in the absence of Phil. Posting .8 goals+assists per 90 last season, Sadio’s return was more than reasonable and when considering where he fit in the xG+xA discussion, it’s clear he’s a true talent and integral cog in our system.
Player xG and xA leaders for the 17-18 Premier League season. pic.twitter.com/UE65mly5Hq— Michael Caley (@MC_of_A) May 21, 2018
So, yes, it makes sense that Sadio might be talked about by Real Madrid or other big teams, even if he maybe doesn’t have the marquee value of some past Madrid targets. But a thing to consider in all of this is that Sadio is on a three year contract, Liverpool have no reason to sell, and he seems to be well adjusted.
Sure, things that have been said about Phil in the past, but there’s also little to officially link Madrid with an actual approach besides that French report - a report which may be linked to other reports indicating that the Real Madrid’s interest began while Zidane was still the manager, throwing the veracity of any actual interest exists into further question.
If there is a silver lining to be had, however, it’s in knowing that not only have Liverpool in this season managed to build the type of club that can afford to actually live out the stance of only wanting footballers in the squad that want to fight for the shirt with their whole heart, but also in that it is once more a destination club for people. Over the past few years, we’ve seen the likes of Mohammed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Virgil Van Dijk, and yes, Sadio Mané all choose Liverpool as their preferred club to ply their trade in. And if there was ever a time to trust the front office and management, it would certainly be the one wherein they manufactured the club’s first Champions League Finals appearance in a decade.
It certainly wouldn’t ease the sting if this bore itself out to be the start of a real transfer saga, but I also think that it would be skipping a few steps before entering panic mode. Either way, it looks like Silly Season has officially arrived with a bang. Hold on to your butts.