Sadio Mané became a name club-connected journalists mentioned with increasing frequency over the past week, with Liverpool reportedly preparing a sizeable bid for the Southampton star. Now that Merseyside's finest are believed to be close to agreeing a deal for the 24-year-old, Southampton are close to securing a talented replacement in the form of Nathan Redmond.
Norwich City may have been relegated from the Premier League, but Redmond was a bright performer on the right for Alex Neil's side. The 22-year-old scored six goals and laid on a further three in 35 Premier League appearances, 24 of which he started. A goal or assist every 260-odd minutes for a struggling side as a young player is promising. Only striker Dieumerci Mbokani scored more goals in a squad that had a couple of decent players in Robbie Brady and Wes Hoolahan.
Southampton moved to secure the winger as a presumed replacement for Sadio Mané. It's evidence of a sensible transfer strategy and sound planning that goes beyond the identity of a manager. A medical for Redmond is rumoured to take place on Saturday after an £11 million fee was agreed to keep him in the Premier League. It's a similar fee to the one that brought Mané to England and will provide a healthy profit in the event of the Senegalese star making a £30 million move to Liverpool.
The Daily Mirror have been reporting throughout the month of the battle Stoke City and Southampton seem to have been engaged in for a player who is able to play on both flanks. Southampton winning such a battle only serves to support the notion that an agreement to take Mané to Liverpool isn't far away. Although the Saints are on the lookout for a replacement for Ronald Koeman -- something that was believed to be a potential barrier to Liverpool completing a deal for Mané before pre-season -- Victor Wanyama's move to Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton's move for Redmond should probably allay any fears of an unwillingness to conduct transfer negotiations.