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Will Real Madrid & Barcelona-linked Mane leave Liverpool in summer transfer window?

5:47 PM IST 08/02/22
Sadio Mane Liverpool 2021-22
The Senegal international has just savoured Africa Cup of Nations glory with his country, but questions continue to hang over his future at club level

Sadio Mane has been on the books at Liverpool since completing a £34 million ($46m) transfer from Southampton in the summer of 2017, with over 240 appearances taken in and 107 goals scored for the Reds.

He has won the Champions League, Premier League and FIFA Club World Cup during his time at Anfield, while also being named in the PFA Team of the Year, landing a Golden Boot and winning the prestigious African Football of the Year prize.

The 29-year-old has been a key part of Jurgen Klopp’s plans throughout a productive spell on Merseyside, with a fearsome partnership forged with fellow forwards Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, but questions of his future in English football are never far away.

What is Mane's contract situation?

Mane signed his last contract renewal with Liverpool back in November 2018, with that deal taking him through to the summer of 2023.

He is now into the final 18 months of that agreement and, like Salah and Firmino, is yet to commit to an extension.

GOAL understands that no formal negotiations have taken place as yet regarding fresh terms, with no offer on the table at this stage.

The same is true for Brazilian frontman Firmino, with much of the attention at present focused on Salah’s future and getting him tied down on a new contract.

It is considered unlikely, although not impossible, that all three members of a superstar attacking trident will put pen to paper at Anfield.

Mane would expect a significant increase in his basic salary if he were to prolong his association with the Reds, but he has expressed no unhappiness – publicly or privately – at his current situation and all avenues remain open.

What do we know about Real Madrid & Barcelona interest?

Talk of interest from afar being shown in Mane is nothing new, with Real Madrid and Barcelona having been sniffing around for some time.

They are forever in the market for the best talent available and would understandably jump at the chance to prise a proven performer away from Liverpool if an opportunity presented itself.

GOAL Spain has learned that Mane would be willing to tread that path if Real or Barca were to come knocking on his door this summer.

He is said to have held a dream of turning out in La Liga since he was a child, with his agents informed of that professional desire.

Liverpool would have a big decision to make if a formal approach were to be made this summer as, with Mane set to enter the final year of his current contract, his value when it comes to demanding a transfer fee will only deteriorate from this point.

Has anyone made an offer for Mane?

Liverpool have received no offers or enquiries for Mane and will not be inviting any.

As things stand, a man that recently savoured Africa Cup of Nations glory with Senegal – scoring the winning penalty in a shootout victory over Salah’s Egypt – remains an important part of Klopp’s thinking.

The Reds have moved to bolster their ranks in wide areas, with a £50 million ($68m) deal done for Colombian star Luis Diaz late in the winter transfer window.

His arrival has seen inevitable questions asked of Mane’s ongoing presence, as the South American operates in a similar left-wing berth, but Liverpool have always looked to recruit with one eye on the future.

That was the case with Diaz, as it was with Diogo Jota, and there are no immediate plans to freshen up a winning formula in the final third.

For now, Mane is preparing to return to domestic competition on the back of his international exploits at Afcon, with Klopp looking to absorb him into the Liverpool fold ahead of a Premier League clash with Leicester on Thursday.

The GOAL view | Neil Jones

With all the (understandable) talk of Mo Salah and his contract renewal, the case of Sadio Mane has, to some extent, flown under the radar. But Senegal’s Afcon triumph should bring a fresh layer of perspective.

Mane remains one of the world’s great players, a forward of substance and style, with a medal collection to match. For club and country, he continues to deliver. Liverpool, then, would be wise to keep him.

Whether they renew his contract or not, Mane still has so much to offer Jurgen Klopp’s side over the next 18 months (and perhaps beyond). He is in their best XI, and one of the Premier League’s most devastating, decisive players.

Sure, the signing of Luis Diaz adds intrigue. It looks, on the surface, a classic Fenway Sports Group move, bringing in the new guy before the old one has left the building. Diaz, at 25, represents the future, and should have a fine career at Anfield.

Mane, meanwhile, will be 30 in April, and for a player whose game is built around explosive speed and remarkable physicality, that may well be a significant landmark.

His form, generally, has been patchier than someone like Salah’s over the past 18 months or so, as well. You can see the doubts. But what is it that Liverpool have lacked, more than anything, in recent years? Depth in attack. The ability to switch top players for top players, to freshen things up without worrying that points will be dropped and that the replacements will not be able to step up.

Having a frontline of Salah, Mane, Diaz, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota, and perhaps with Fulham’s Fabio Carvalho thrown in, would ensure they are a formidable prospect next season. Allowing Mane to leave, no matter what kind of fee they might receive, would weaken them significantly. He would be hard to replace. Just ask Jurgen Klopp.

It remains to be seen whether Liverpool and Mane thrash out a contract extension. Logic suggests that it is unlikely that he, Salah and Firmino will all renew, but stranger things have happened. Certainly, the Reds are a stronger prospect with those three than without.

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