Liverpool begin transfer talks over Sadio Mane replacement as club ‘accept’ exit wish | Football | Sport
Liverpool are already holding internal discussions over potential replacements for Sadio Mane and will soon make a decision on their preferred candidate, according to reports. Mane wants to leave the club this summer after six seasons and Liverpool are willing to sanction an exit.
The 30-year-old, who has won every major trophy possible at Liverpool bar the Europa League in which the Reds have not played a single match since his 2016 arrival, is a target for Bayern Munich. And he is eager for a new challenge ahead of the expiry of his Anfield contract next summer.
Mane joined Liverpool from Southampton for a fee of around £34m six years ago and has been a massive success since. Thanks to his service – 120 goals and 48 assists in 269 appearances – Fabrizio Romano reports in his column for the Anfield Watch that Liverpool are ready to accept Mane’s wish to move on.
But they want the right fee to do business, which will mean more than the £25million fee that has been mooted. Bayern are expected to have to pay a fee of at least £35m, and potentially more than £40m, to get a deal done. Liverpool’s recruitment staff are currently discussing their options to succeed Mane and they want to secure their top target, whoever it is they settle on, as soon as possible.
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Liverpool also first want a replacement lined up before they agree to sell. Romano adds that despite signing the left-sided winger Luis Diaz in January from Porto, another attacker is wanted before Jurgen Klopp and co feel they can let Senegal international Mane can go. It is unclear if the new signing will be a No 9 or a wide-man.
Divock Origi is also departing Liverpool this summer upon the expiry of his contract while Takumi Minamino may also be sold if a decent bid is submitted.
Were all three of Mane, Origi and Minamino to leave that would leave Diaz, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota as the only out-and-out senior forwards at the club. It is not mentioned which players are being looked at to replace Mane though long-linked options they could sign include Jarrod Bowen, Christopher Nkunku, Darwin Nunez and Serge Gnabry.
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Salah and Firmino’s contracts also expire in 2023 but both of the duo are expected to stay beyond this summer, with Liverpool in talks to extend the Egyptian’s deal. Diaz and Jota have both joined in the past 18 months but the Reds still want another new forward to directly replace Mane.
It is still possible Mane stays on an extra year and sees out his contract in full but Bayern’s strong interest hints a deal will get done. Paris Saint-Germain are another club who have been mentioned as possible suitors.
Klopp was coy when asked about Mane’s future last week. The German manager said: “Wherever Sadio will play next season he will be a big player. Definitely. I couldn’t care less about the Bayern Munich rumours. Sadio is focused on the game. It is not the first time in my career before decisive games that Bayern Munich rumours come up.”