Liverpool legend Sadio Mane is a step closer to returning to England with Chelsea after Bayern Munich not only greenlit a sale, but also lined up a superstar replacement, per reports.
It’s fair to say Mane’s maiden season in Munich has not gone to plan. The Senegalese has scored just 12 times in 36 matches for the German giant. He’s not been a regular starter under either Julian Nagelsmann or Thomas Tuchel, while an off-field incident recently marred his reputation.
Mane punched teammate Leroy Sane in the aftermath of Bayern’s 3-0 thumping at the hands of Man City in the Champions League.
Sane was left with a bloodied lip and Mane was subsequently suspended for Bayern’s Bundesliga clash with Hoffenheim and fined roughly €500,000.
But despite his difficult spell in Germany, Mane remains highly thought of elsewhere, specifically in England.
Indeed, the odds-on favourite to become the next Chelsea manager, Mauricio Pochettino, is reportedly dreaming of managing Mane at Stamford Bridge.
Football Insider claimed Pochettino discussed a Mane move during his own negotiations with Chelsea’s hierarchy. Given the Blues’ desperate need for a proven goalscorer, Mane could represent a viable option this summer.
Sky Germany claimed Bayern will cash in on one of their frontline wingers at season’s end. Serge Gnabry and Sadio Mane are the two players on the chopping block, though TEAMtalk have been told it’s Mane who’ll make way.
FI claimed a £30m deal can get a deal for Mane over the line. With Pochettino and by extension Chelsea keen, as well as Bayern being ready to cash in, a move looks there for the making.
However, a club like Bayern rarely leave themselves short and it stands to reason a suitable replacement must be signed before Mane can leave.
Bayern turn to Barcelona for Mane replacement
To that end, Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo report Bayern have lined up Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele this summer.
What’s more, a bargain release clause that activates on July 1 has put a move for the Frenchman within reach from a financial perspective.
The outlet (via Football Espana) state manager Thomas Tuchel has asked his Bayern superiors to sign Dembele as Mane’s replacement.
Aiding his cause is the fact Dembele’s current contract contains a clause that can see him signed for just €50m from July 1.
The 25-year-old France international is highly regarded at the Camp Nou. Indeed, it’s claimed losing him now as he’s just beginning to realise his true potential would be ‘devastating’ for Barcelona.
However, tying him down to fresh terms in a move that would also see the clause removed is proving difficult. His current deal expires in the summer of 2024.
Barca’s financial strife has been well documented. Indeed, the club have failed in their quest to see previously agreed deals for Ronald Araujo and Gavi be ratified by LaLiga.
Barcelona are also keen on bringing Lionel Messi back to the city. Doing so would be a colossal undertaking from a financial perspective and Dembele could be among those axed to free up funds.
If Barcelona get serious over a Messi reunion, Dembele may find himself pushed towards Bayern who’d then be in the clear to sell Mane, much to Pochettino’s delight.
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