When the season ended and Liverpool began to look towards their summer deals, manager Jürgen Klopp early on insisted that a lack of Champions League football wouldn’t be a hinderance to his recruitment efforts. Not because some players might not pass on the club because of it, though.
No, Klopp said that it wouldn’t be a hinderance because any player who would pass on a Liverpool move because the club lacked Champions League football next season wasn’t a player that he would want at the club in the first place. His former pupil, Mario Götze, passed. Klopp quickly looked to Sadio Mané instead.
"I think for me this is the right club, the right coach, and the right moment to change," Mané said. "He said he wanted me to come to play for Liverpool. I didn’t even have to ask myself, I said straight away, ‘yes, I am interested’ because I know Liverpool. I am convinced Liverpool are the right club for me with the right coach."
At 24 years of age, Mané knows his best year as a footballer are still ahead of him, and he’s chosen to buy into Klopp’s vision of a revitalized Anfield. He’s chosen to buy into Klopp’s vision of a club that may not be in the Champions League this season but will be in years to come. The attacking star has chosen to buy in.
That’s what the Liverpool manager demanded of any new signing the club made, and it’s something he’s gotten from the likes of Loris Karius, Joel Matip, and now Mané, all players old good enough and established enough that they could have been playing in Europe next year. Perhaps should be playing in Europe next year.
Instead, they chose to buy into Klopp and Liverpool. Hopefully, fans will return the favour. With a record and statistics last season that compare favourably to Götze and Costa at Bayern, Lamela and Eriksen at Tottenham, and de Bruyne at Manchester City, the club are certainly getting a top four calibre attacking midfielder.
They’re getting one of the only two non-strikers in the Premier League who has scored ten or more goals the past two seasons—and the other is Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez. And, along with Karius and Matip, he’ll be ready for pre-season on Saturday and could make an appearance as soon as in ten days against Tranmere on July 8th.
"Today is a big day, and I’m very happy to sign for one of the biggest clubs in Europe," Mané added. "It’s a club that has won a lot of trophies and has a big history. Now I’m looking forward to meeting all the staff and my teammates and starting the season."