Former Liverpool forward Sadio Mane looks set to become the latest high-profile player to move to Saudi Arabia
Sadio Mane looks set to be denied a reunion with Liverpool this summer, a year on from leaving the Reds.
The Senegalese, who scored 120 goals from 269 appearances across six seasons at Anfield, won every major honour with Liverpool before leaving for Bayern Munich last summer. However, his time in Bavaria looks set to come to a premature end.
Fabrizio Romano reports that the 31-year-old is set to become the latest high-profile player to move to Saudi Arabia, with a deal between Al-Nassr and Bayern reportedly agreed. Consequently, Mane is set to miss out on facing his former side in Singapore, with Liverpool due to face the German giants on Wednesday (August 2)
In truth, the Senegal international’s imminent exit is no surprise, given his flailing fortunes in Munich during the second half of last season.
The forward would make 38 appearances in all competitions for Bayern, with 27 coming from the start, and featured 25 times in the Bundesliga. However, a leg injury, which required surgery, saw him miss over three months of the campaign and ruled him out of the mid-season World Cup.
He would later be deemed surplus to requirements by new manager Thomas Tuchel, with the writing on the wall for Mane since he allegedly punched team-mate Leroy Sane in the face after Bayern’s 3-0 defeat to Manchester City in the Champions League last season. The pair were seen arguing both on the pitch and after the final whistle, with that confrontation continuing into the dressing room.
Sane would then be spotted with a bloodied lip following the altercation, with reports suggesting their team-mates had to pull the pair apart in the dressing room.
Mane, who scored 12 goals for his new club, was subsequently handed a £250,000 fine by Bayern, along with a one-match suspension as he sat out their 1-1 draw with Hoffenheim. And while he would return to the starting XI next time out, even scoring as the Bavarians lost 3-1 to Mainz, he ultimately finished the campaign on the fringes of Tuchel’s side, and was an unused substitute as they clinched the Bundesliga title on the last day of the season.
Such silverware would prove to be his only major prize for the German outfit, as they lost in the quarter-finals of both the Champions League and the DFB-Pokal. A disappointing season, despite winning their 11th successive title, Munich achieved the bare minimum.
Consequently, Mane’s struggles at Bayern ensure that Liverpool won’t receive the maximum £35m fee they agreed when selling the Senegalese last summer. The Reds received an initial £27.5m, with a further £5m due based on appearances, and £2.5m in add-ons also owed, based on individual and team achievements.
How much of that additional £7.5m Liverpool will be entitled to is debatable.
Bayern’s first initial bid was worth £21.5m, with its add-ons dismissed as ‘laughable’. Equating to a little over £4m, they were all based on individual and team achievements, with The Times reporting that the Reds would only receive the full fee if Munich were to win the Champions League, and the player the Ballon d’Or, each season over the course of a three-year contract.
While Mane’s efforts for club and country in 2022 saw him crowned Ballon d’Or runner-up last year, it’s safe to say he won’t be anywhere near the running again this year. Meanwhile, he is highly unlikely to have activated his full appearance-based add-ons ahead of a potential exit this summer.
Bayern at least won the Bundesliga title when it came to team achievements last year, even if they did fall short when it came to their Champions League exploits. Were Mane to move on, it depends on the specific agreement met between the two clubs whether Liverpool would still be entitled to bonus payments if such triumphs are achieved without the forward within the span of his initial three-year contract.
As a result, the Reds will have perhaps banked a fraction of those £5m add-ons based on appearances, on top of the initial £27.5m fee, with the rest of that total fee, along with the final £2.5m based on individual and team achievements, unobtainable. While Liverpool agreed a £35m package that ensured they were selling the forward at a profit, the reality is they will receive less than the £34m they paid Southampton for the Senegalese back in 2016.
Should Mane complete his switch to Al-Nassr, he will become the latest Reds figure to make the switch to Saudi Arabia, following in the footsteps of Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson, Steven Gerrard and Robbie Fowler, with Fabinho expected to follow shortly.
Consequently, he will at least be reunited with three of his former team-mates in the Gulf State in the Saudi Pro League, if not the rest of Klopp’s Liverpool squad in Singapore next week. Meanwhile, new team-mates at Al-Nassr will include David Ospina, Alex Telles, Marcelo Brozovic, Seko Fofana, Talisca and Cristiano Ronaldo.