Sadio Mane has issued a strong hint that his future lies away from Liverpool after vowing to follow the will of the Senegalese people.
Mane is looking increasingly likely to leave Liverpool this summer, one year before his contract expires. Several reports have claimed he wants a new challenge. In turn, Bayern Munich have been heavily linked with a swoop for the former Southampton star.
Jurgen Klopp has relied heavily on Mane this season. He began it on the left wing and ended it as a centre-forward after the arrival of Luis Diaz.
Mane concluded the campaign with 23 goals from 51 appearances. Only Mohamed Salah scored more for the double winners.
However, while Salah is ready to see out the final year of his own deal, it looks like Mane is ready to leave now. By joining Bayern, he feels he could be the main man.
Yet there could still be time for other suitors to join the race. Paris Saint-Germain have been linked, for example. As things stand, they seem less likely to win him over than their Bundesliga counterparts.
Where he ends up will be of little concern to Liverpool as long as it is outside the Premier League. Some still feel they should be doing more to keep him, regardless.
For the time being, he remains their player. Controlling his future is in their hands. However, they must also take into account the player’s wishes.
And speaking while on international duty with Senegal, Mane has offered a concerning update about his willingness to stay at Liverpool.
“Like everyone else, I’m on social media and I see the comments,” he said at a press conference.
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“Isn’t it between 60 to 70% of Senegalese want me to leave Liverpool? I will do what they want.
“We will see soon! Don’t be in a hurry because we will see this together. The future will tell us.”
If Mane is to leave Liverpool this summer, he will do so with 269 appearances, 120 goals, 48 assists and six medals under his belt.
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While Mane has been fundamental to Liverpool’s success under Klopp, there would be little point in trying to keep him if he is unhappy at the club.
Should he really want to leave, then it may not be wise for Liverpool to stand in his way, especially given his contractual situation.
Liverpool could quite easily enter the new season with a front three of Salah, Diogo Jota and Diaz and still be dangerous. The likes of Roberto Firmino and the incoming Fabio Carvalho could provide support.
Perhaps the Reds could be tempted into the market to find a replacement of similar level for Mane, too.
But as tempting as it would be to keep him, there could be concerns about his productivity if that goes against his will. There will no doubt be further developments in the near future.