Premier League • England

Sadio Mane latest: Bayern Munich talks gather pace as journalist drops ‘top secret’ update on Liverpool exit plan

Sadio Mane, Liverpool forward, during the Champions League match against Villarreal at Anfield

Bayern Munich’s wish to secure the Sadio Mane transfer this summer has been confirmed, with their efforts to sign him starting to gather serious pace, according to a trusted source.

The Senegalese frontman is currently enjoying a timely purple patch for the Reds. A tireless runner, Mane often lives in the shadows of his Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah. However, since switching from the left wing to centre forward, Mane now has eight goals in his last 11 games.

The switch to the more central role has come about in the wake of Liverpool’s January capture of Luis Diaz. The Colombian arrived in a big-money deal from FC Porto – and quickly found his rhythm under Jurgen Klopp.

Now the three men, with Diogo Jota in reserve, are driving Liverpool forward in their quest to land three trophies this season. With the Carabao Cup in the bag, Liverpool face Chelsea in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

They also face Real Madrid in the Champions League on May 28. And they could yet also land the Premier League title should Manchester City drop points in their final two games.

Liverpool’s trophy chances will rest heavy on Mane continuing his excellent run of form. However, his long-term future at Anfield remains under the spotlight with his current deal expiring in summer 2023.

To that end, the likes of Barcelona and, more recently, Bayern Munich are reportedly keeping a close eye on his situation.

Indeed, claims earlier this month suggested Bayern’s sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has met with Mane’s agent in a bid to strike a deal.

At the time, Bayern’s apparent interest in Mane was dismissed as little more than paper talk.

Bayern stepping up Mane chase

However, Sky Germany journalist Florian Plettenberg insists their interest in the 30-year-old is genuine. Furthermore, he has lifted the lid on their growing efforts to bring him to Bavaria.

Plettenberg states that Mane is Bayern’s ‘desired top transfer of the summer’ and that talks over a move are already underway. And while he admits that no talks have taken place between Liverpool and Bayern, he claims that signing an extension to his Anfield deal is ‘difficult’.

Providing more details, he adds that Julian Nagelsmann is ‘also aware’ of, and fully behind, the ‘top secret’ plan of the club.

Any sale of Mane would hugely upset both their fanbase and pundit Jamie Carragher.

Assessing his recent form earlier this week, he revealed why Mane is his No 1.

“For me as a Liverpool fan when I watch Liverpool play, Sadio Mane is my favourite player,” Carragher told Sky Sports.

“He’s the one I watch. We know Salah’s numbers, he’s won the Golden Boot, so you can’t say he doesn’t do his job.

“But as you say about Mane, he’s sacrificed himself at times, the shift he puts in. Not just him but Salah as well… five years they’ve been at it now.

“Never injured touch wood for Liverpool, they’re there week in, week out, 90 minutes, getting their numbers up every week, what they’ve done for this club is unbelievable.

“You’d always find a place in the front three for him,” Carragher added of Mane.

Sadio Mane transfer would be a mistake by Liverpool

Allowing Mane to depart would be a massive mistake by Liverpool.

They have seemingly allowed their eyes to be taken off the ball by the long wait to tie down Salah.

But Mane is equally as important, if not more so, to the Reds’ cause.

Having scored 119 goals in 266 appearances, Mane has always carried a massive goal threat. That said, he’s often been in Salah’s shade and may want a fresh challenge elsewhere.

Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah contract update

Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah contract update

Roberto Firmino contract will be sorted by Liverpool after Mo Salah and Sadio Mane deals are done

Indeed, at the age of 30, this next contract will be the last big one of his career.

Perhaps his agent is using Bayern’s interest to cajole Liverpool into action.

Either way, despite their numerous options in attack, his exit would badly hurt Liverpool next season.

Capable of playing anywhere in attack, Mane is, quite rightly, one of the first names on Jurgen Klopp’s teamsheet.

On the subject of Salah, a report on Saturday claims his stance has now softened and an agreement on a new four-year deal is close.