Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has revealed Sadio Mane could have plied his trade at Old Trafford had he got his wish.
Mane was one of the Premier League’s very best talents during his time with Liverpool. In 269 games for the Reds, the Senegalese forward scored 120 times and provided 49 assists.
Among that tally were 22 Premier League goals in the 2018/19 season, which meant he won the golden boot.
He was also part of a good deal of team success, including winning both the Champions League and Premier League.
There were no guarantees that Mane was going to become such a fantastic asset for the Reds when they signed him. While he had performed well at Southampton, his highest league goals tally in two seasons with the Saints was 11.
However, Liverpool deemed those two seasons enough preparation to make the move to Anfield.
Clearly, the approximately £35million transfer worked out for both the team and the player in the long run.
His success in England could have been fast-tracked at one stage, though.
Van Gaal admits he wanted Mane
Indeed, former Man Utd boss Van Gaal has admitted he wanted to sign Mane while he was at the helm at Old Trafford.
“I wanted him when I was the manager at Man Utd,” he said via Metro.
At the time Van Gaal was in charge at United, Mane was playing for Red Bull Salzburg. As such, it should not have been a difficult transfer to pull off, especially given he left for Southampton not long after.
How different things could have been had Van Gaal managed to snare him for United. The Red Devils could have had a lot of the successes that Liverpool achieved of late, when they had one of the league’s very best players on their hands.
Van Gaal dodged major Senegal challenge
The former United boss is now the manager of the Netherlands. His side will play in Group A of the World Cup, and are soon to face Senegal.
It seems Van Gaal thinks he has dodged a bullet, with Mane being out injured.
“I chased him at the time. I am a fan of Mane. He can break open a match and I would say Senegal will really miss him,” he added.
Indeed, Senegal lost their most potent asset when it was confirmed that Mane will miss the tournament.
That is not to say Netherlands will face an easy challenge against Senegal. However, it surely would have been more tough with one of the world’s best forwards coming up against them.