Liverpool have agreed to sell Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich for a deal worth up to £ 35.1m.
Bayern will pay an initial £ 27.5m with a further £ 5m based on appearance. The Bundesliga club will pay another £ 2.5m based on individual and team achievements.
The deal eclipses what Liverpool paid for Mane – £ 31m plus £ 2.5m in add-ons – with Southampton not getting any additional money.
Mane has been central to the club’s success over the past six seasons so will depart with their blessing and gratitude.
Liverpool have been conscious of needing to evolve their squad without sentiment as a driving factor, and have efficiently recalibrated their attack with the recruitment of Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Nunez.
Bayern have been confident of landing the Senegal international having received a verbal commitment from him last month. They believed it enabled them to pull off a cut-price deal, especially considering the Nunez development.
The Bundesliga giants also pointed to their ‘soft’ negotiations with Liverpool for Thiago, selling the midfielder for an initial £ 20m with a potential £ 5m in add-ons.
New of Mane’s impending move came as the Senegal star took part in a parade around his country and returned to play football on a muddy surface in his home town Bambaly. The game saw former Senegalese internationals Papiss Cisse and El-Hadji Diouf also playing with a large crowd watching on.
Mane’s future had, until the final weeks of the season, been something of a sideshow to that of Salah – even though he too was entering the final year of his contract at Anfield.
It is a familiar dynamic. Mane, although cherished by those associated with Liverpool, tends to receive only a fraction of the attention and acclaim afforded to his team-mate. It has been that way ever since the Egyptian’s arrival, a year after his, in 2017.
He departs, however, having played a similarly crucial role in the club’s transformation during Klopp’s tenure, leaving an indelible mark on Liverpool and indeed on the Premier League as a whole.
His arrival from Southampton in 2016 signalled the start of the glorious chapter that followed. Mane was, after all, Klopp’s first major signing. Fast, ferociously aggressive and ruthlessly efficient, he came to embody Klopp’s Liverpool perhaps better than anyone else.
Together with Salah, he helped redefine expectations of wide forwards, reaching double figures for goals in six consecutive seasons and scoring at least 20 in four of them. His overall total of 120 puts him 14th in Liverpool’s all-time scoring charts.
The numbers cement his Liverpool legacy while the consistency of his output, as well as the pivotal role he played in the club’s first title triumph in 30 years in 2020, ensures Premier League greatness too.
Sky Sports News reporter Vinny O’Connor:
Liverpool will look to strengthen their forward line this season. The fact they even spoke to Kylian Mbappe shows how intent they are to add further quality up top.
They have already secured the signature of Darwin Nunez, but it makes sense with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino entering the final year of their contracts. The departure of Mane, who also had one year left on his deal, and Divock Origi having already decided to go, makes reinforcements in that area a priority.
With Fabio Carvalho due to officially start his Liverpool career on July 1, any further overhaul in midfield could depend on the futures of Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Takumi Minamino. Oxlade Chamberlain made 29 appearances in a 63 game season and has not played since the FA Cup win over Forest in March, while Minamino made just 24 appearances and both could look for more regular first-team opportunities. Oxlade Chamberlain is another player with just one year left on his contract.
Strengthening the back-line does not appear to be a priority with Ibrahima Konate offering another option to Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk while Joe Gomez is able to cover right-back and center-back.
Liverpool begin the 2022/23 Premier League campaign with a lunchtime trip to newly-promoted Fulham on Saturday August 6.
It will be the fourth season in a row in which Liverpool have started a new campaign against a Premier League newcomer.
But after then facing Crystal Palace, Jurgen Klopp’s side will take on Man Utd at Old Trafford on August 20.
September will feature away trips to both Everton and Chelsea in September and Liverpool will also face back-to-back clashes against Arsenal and champions Man City on October 8 and 15 respectively.
Liverpool’s final game before the season stops temporarily for the winter World Cup will be against Southampton at Anfield on November 12 before returning to action at Aston Villa on Boxing Day.
The Reds then host arch-rivals United on March 4, before tricky-looking clashes in consecutive weekends at City (April 1) and against Arsenal at Anfield (April 8), before finishing the season at Southampton.
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