Sadio Mane’s transfer from Liverpool to Bayern Munich is a coup for the Bundesliga champions, who have signed a ready-made replacement for striker Robert Lewandowski or winger Serge Gnabry.
Mane, 30, arrives in Munich on a three-year contract with enough star status to bolster Bayern’s attack.
“Often it’s the other way around, but this time a Bundesliga club signed a Premier League player,” commented German magazine Kicker last week.
The Senegal striker is said to have cost the German giants around £35m (€41m, $43m), barely less than the sum Liverpool paid for him in 2016.
Crucially for Bayern, Mane can replace either Lewandowski, who insists his ‘Munich story is over’ as he considers a move to Barcelona, or Gnabry, who is reluctant to sign a contract extension.
In six years on Merseyside, Mane led Liverpool’s transformation under the Premier League’s Jurgen Klopp, who also became serious contenders for major trophies.
One of Klopp’s first major signings, Mane won a complete sweep of the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Club World Cup titles during his tenure. stay at Anfield.
– ‘Low maintenance’ –
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher sees Mane as an excellent signing for Bayern.
“My favorite @LFC player from that era – low maintenance, high performance and never injured,” Carragher said on Twitter this week.
“Trophies and goals galore, a true Liverpool legend. Thank you, Sadio.”
Another former Reds player, Dean Saunders, has claimed his talent will be wasted in the Bundesliga, where Bayern have just capped off a decade of dominance by winning a 10th straight league title.
“The league is far from a challenge for Mane. He will score goals. They win 5-0 every week, only one team can win the league,” Sanders told TalkSport.
“It’s not a challenge. He’s going to sit in his chair, light a cigar, he’ll play for Bayern in third gear and he’ll roll around for two years and waste the best two years of his footballing life.”
Mane has scored 120 goals in 269 games for Liverpool.
This has nothing to do with the phenomenal tally of 238 Bundesliga goals in eight years that Lewandowski, twice voted FIFA’s Best Men’s Player, managed in 252 appearances for Bayern.
However, it was his full and energetic play that made Mane a favorite at Liverpool.
He can also play on both wings as well as in the middle.
Mane’s career started away from the spotlight at the Allianz Arena.
“In the village you are going to be a farmer, there is no other job to do. My childhood dream was to go down in history and win all the trophies,” he said in the documentary Sadio Mane: Made in Senegal.
Spotted by French club Metz while playing in Dakar, about 400 km from his native village, he moved to France in early 2011.
Three years later he moved to RB Salzburg, where he learned German and impressed with 31 goals in 63 games.
He helped them win the Austrian league and cup double in 2014, then moved to the English Premier League when he was signed by Southampton.
After two years on England’s south coast, Liverpool opted for Mane, who became the second-highest transfer in club history when the Reds paid him £37million.
After scoring the winning penalty to win Senegal’s maiden Africa Cup of Nations title and qualifying his country for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Mane faces a new challenge with Bayern.