If you thought Liverpool could go a whole summer without chasing a Southampton player, then think again.
Having already poached Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Rickie Lambert and Nathaniel Clyne from the Saints in the last couple of years for a combined total of £61m (and yet still managing to finish below them last season), they have now turned their attention to forward Sadio Mané, as per a report today in the Liverpool Echo.
The report comes as manager Jürgen Klopp’s hopes of landing Bayern Munich’s Mario Götze appear to be fading fast after the 23 year old expressed his desire to stay at the Allianz Arena and fight for his place under new manager Carlo Ancelotti.
(That being said, Bayern themselves are believed to want the player to move on.)
Nonetheless, Klopp is not one to sit around and wait for disinterested players, and to that end they have been keeping taps on the Senegalese international as an alternative, should (as is looking likely) the Götze deal fail to come to fruition.
The report suggests that Klopp has been a big fan of Mané for some time, dating back to the 24 year old’s time at Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg before his £11.8m transfer to St. Mary’s in 2014.
Manchester United had a bid of £20m for Mané rejected by Southampton last summer, with the club reportedly valuing him at around £25m. They will resist his suitors again this summer, but the player may be more active in pushing the move this time around, which in turn could benefit Liverpool’s pursuit.
Intriguingly, the Times have added to this story by claiming that Klopp could use winger Jordon Ibe as a makeweight in the deal. The 20 year old has not had the best of seasons at Anfield and reports earlier this week suggested that Liverpool were prepared to listen to offers for the player.
Mané has become a fan favourite at the club, scoring fifteen goals last season (including three against Liverpool last season) in a number ten role – though he is equally adept on the wing.
In the meantime, Liverpool are expected to press ahead with a deal for Leicester’s Ben Chilwell (though Lorient claim that the Reds have bid for their left back Raphaël Guerreiro), with Gladbach’s Mahmoud Dahoud also very much on Klopp’s radar.
Deals for goalkeeper Loris Karius, defender Joël Matip and midfielder Marko Grujić have already been completed.