After the disappointment of being turned down by Mario Götze, Liverpool have moved quickly to secure their next top choice attacker this summer. The club have tonight agreed terms with Southampton for the transfer of Sadio Mané, a 24-year-old with a strong goal record and exceptional physical skills who should be instantly at home in Jürgen Klopp’s high pressure system.
According to multiple reports, the player is expected in Liverpool on Monday to undergo a medical and sign a contract, with the club expected to officially unveil him early in the week. He will join up with his new manager and teammates on the first day of pre-season, July 2nd. Liverpool and Southampton were able to agree a £30M fee quickly following the Saints’ signing of Mané’s replacement, Nathan Redmond.
The young Senegalese attacker first caught the eye of both Klopp and Liverpool while playing for RB Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga, where he scored 45 goals and 33 assists in 87 games over two full seasons. Since moving to Southampton for £12M in the summer of 2014, Mané has 25 goals and 13 assists in 75 total games, good for a goal or assist every 138 minutes he’s been on the pitch.
It’s a return that compares favourably to current Liverpool attackers Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino, as well as to the Mario Götze—and the man who regularly started ahead of Götze at Bayern last season, Douglas Costa. If he can maintain that return for Liverpool, he will be good value at £30M. If he can improve upon it, he will be a bargain. Regardless, on paper he seems an exceptionally good fit.
He has played in a high pressing system at both Salzburg and Southampton, and can play anywhere in attack in support of a striker. Along with Firmino, Coutinho, and Adam Lallana, it means that Liverpool will enter into next season with four attacking support players good enough to contribute for any side in the league, and who wouldn’t look out of place in a top four squad with title aspirations.