It’s officially announced! Liverpool superstar Sadio Mane joins Bayern and leaves Reds a club legend.
The Reds will receive a €32m (£27m/$34m) fixed fee for the Senegal international, with a further €6m available based on appearances and €3m depending on individual and team achievements.
The transfer fee means that Liverpool have sold the winger for more than the £33.5m (€39m/$40m) they paid to sign him from Southampton in 2016 – but for Bayern, it marks a key bit of business in the transfer window.
Mane arrived in Germany on Tuesday (June 21) to undergo his medical with Bayern after they agreed a £35.1million deal with the Reds.
He also sat down for his first interview with the German media and explained his decision to leave Liverpool. Speaking to BILD journalist Christian Falk, he said: “When my agent first told me about Bayern’s interest, I was immediately excited. I saw myself there right away.
“For me it was the right club at the right time. It’s one of the biggest clubs in the world and the team is always fighting for every title. So for me it was a very good idea and the right decision to come here.
“My agent told me that there were enquiries from other clubs. That’s part of the business. But I got the feeling right away when Bayern presented their plan to me. I found myself in Bayern’s plan more than anyone else.”
Mane’s arrival in Munich has been seen as the move to replace wantaway striker Robert Lewandowski. He is keen to join Barcelona this summer.
Bayern have been reluctant to let him leave, but may now change their stance. Regardless of what happens, Mane is intent on winning silverware with his new club.
When asked about Lewandowski, he added: “I’m not a player who focuses on things like that. I’m here for FC Bayern. And I will do everything to win titles with my teammates!”
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The Senegal international’s future at Liverpool had been in serious doubt since forward Darwin Nunez joined the Premier League side from Benfica in a club-record deal worth up to €100 million.
The 30-year-old scored 120 goals in 269 appearances for Liverpool and leaves as one of the greatest players in the club’s illustrious history.
Mane joined Liverpool from Southampton in 2016, arriving within the first 12 months of manager Jurgen Klopp’s reign, and played a crucial role as the club returned to the top of English football — he lifted the Champions League in 2019 and helped to end the club’s 30-year wait for a Premier League title in 2020.
He also won the Club World Cup (2019), FA Cup (2022) and Carabao Cup (2022) as he scored 120 goals in 269 games in all competitions during his time at Liverpool.
There had been speculation throughout last season that Mohamed Salah could also leave this summer, but the forward confirmed last month that he will remain at Liverpool for the 2022-23 campaign.
In the grand scheme of things, a footballer’s peak is relatively short. As all of these players inevitably depart, and Klopp attempts to build his third version of this great team, how good, and important, these players were may become even more apparent.
Mané departs towards the end of his peak as a Liverpool player. Though there was talk of his form dropping off at the start of the most recent season, by the end of it he had arguably been Liverpool’s best player.
He had also gained further international status thanks to his exploits with Senegal, winning the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in the West African nation’s history, and defeating Salah’s Egypt in a playoff to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.
With a year left on his Liverpool contract, meaning he would be available for foreign clubs to sign on a pre-contract for no transfer fee come January 2023, he would still have been good enough to give Liverpool a few more years of service. But the club decided to refresh their front line while also taking a fee for Mané and giving him the chance to continue at the highest level on what’s likely to be an improved wage. Everyone wins, especially, they hope, Bayern.
Mané is the first of Klopp’s Liverpool legends to leave, with all due respect to Georginio Wijnaldum and Divock Origi, the latter of whom left as a legend of a different sort—a cult hero.
Those two players could be upgraded upon on leaving the club, but that’s not the case with Mané. Liverpool can, though, look to maintain its current level, making the usual savvy moves in the market and adding new qualities to the team while also attempting to replace old ones.
It’s something they are trying to do with Darwin Núñez, who comes in as somewhat of a replacement for both Origi and Mané, with January 2022 signing Luis Diaz offering verve from the flanks as Mané once did.
During his time at Anfield, Mané developed into one of the best players in the world and one of the best African footballers to grace the European leagues.
His ability to propel Liverpool to titles as part of one of its best-ever teams means he leaves as one of its best-ever players. And that’s some achievement at such a storied club.