Bayern Munich may have riled Liverpool after their opening offer for Sadio Mane was rejected. The German giants are reportedly demanding a significantly higher asking price for Robert Lewandowski than they bid for Mane, who is three years younger, which could be perceived by the Reds as a disrespectful way to kick off negotiations.
Mane once again proved himself to be one of the best attackers in the Premier League last season, finishing fifth in the race for the Golden Boot as Liverpool won two domestic trophies. Normally, that would see him pinned with an astronomical price tag, but there are mitigating circumstances.
At 30-years-old, it is entirely possible that the Reds star is already past his peak. Furthermore, the solitary year remaining on his contract exposes Liverpool to the risk of losing him for free next summer if they do not sell over the coming weeks.
Even so, Bayern’s reported opening offer of £21million, plus a potential £4m in bonuses, may not have earned them too many fans at Anfield.
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Liverpool would surely have expected the German side to try their luck with a lowball offer, but Bayern’s hefty £42m asking price for wantaway striker Lewandowski suggests that they feel Mane is half the player. Combined with the fact that the Polish forward is soon to turn 34-years-old, and the opening offer for Mane is unlikely to be well received on Merseyside.
The Senegalese has hit double figures in every Premier League season since 2014/15, including the two he spent at Southampton. A longstanding favourite of Jurgen Klopp, Mane has formed part of an iconic attack including Mohamed Salah, which has seen him pick up an FA Cup, Premier League, Carabao Cup, Champions League and a share of the Golden Boot along the way.
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Bayern were reportedly hoping that they had some goodwill in the bank after allowing Thiago Alcantara to join Liverpool without putting up a fight two years ago. Nevertheless, valuing Mane at half of Lewandowski’s price-tag could have pushed it too far, and it remains to be seen whether the Reds will make life difficult for the remainder of the negotiations.
In the meantime, Liverpool transfer chief Julian Ward has already set about scouring the market for replacement options. Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele, Bayern’s Serge Gnabry and Benfica’s Darwin Nunez have all been linked to Anfield in recent weeks, although a nailed-on front-runner is yet to emerge.
But Mane’s stint at Liverpool appears to be over, regardless of whether Bayern’s first offer was slapped down. Fans may feel aggrieved not only at how the German club opted to kick off proceedings, but how the winger may have given them false hope before last month’s Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.
“Come back to me and I will give you the best answer you want to hear, for sure,” he said. “It’s special. I will give you all you want to hear then. I love what I am doing and I sacrifice myself all the time. I am working hard every single day on the pitch and in the gym and I get better and better, that’s the most important. I am trying my best to help the team.”