While Liverpool are preparing to play in the UEFA Champions League final, the future of star forward Sadio Mane has been thrown into doubt.
Reports suggest the Senegal international could be headed for the exit door at Anfield at the end of the season, with a host of potential suitors sure to be interested in the 30-year-old.
Having joined from fellow Premier League side Southampton in 2016, Mane has developed into a world-class star, whose name remains in the conversation for this year’s Ballon d’Or award.
He has won the Premier League, the Champions League, the FA Cup, League Cup and the Club World Cup with Liverpool, plus an Africa Cup of Nations title with Senegal during his Reds tenure.
This season, he has played an integral part in leading both club and country to silverware. However, Mane is at a crossroads in his Liverpool career. He signed a new five-year contract with Liverpool in 2018, but that is running down.
This close-season, Mane will decide how to approach his future — whether to move to a new club now, re-sign with Liverpool, or run down his Reds contract and leave on a free transfer in 2023.
The Sporting News brings you all the latest news and reports on Mane’s likely next move.
Is Sadio Mane joining Bayern Munich?
On May 23, German publication Bild reported that Mane is not only a target for Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, but that a move to Bayern is more likely than a contract extension at Liverpool.
The report stated that Mane is pondering a new challenge after six years at Liverpool, and Bayern would be prepared to pay €30 million ($32m; £27.5m) to sign him.
The rumors further escalated when, just a day before the Champions League final, French publication L’Equipe suggested that Bayern are “close” to a move for Mane.
L’Equipe reported that Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic had already met with Mane’s representatives, something that Sky Germany had also suggested would take place earlier in May.
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Sadio Mane contract situation at Liverpool
The €30 million transfer fee reportedly being considered by Bayern is noticeably low for a player of world-class standing, but there’s good reason for that.
Mane’s current deal is scheduled to expire in mid-2023, meaning he has just one season remaining on his Liverpool contract.
With interested clubs aware that Liverpool could lose Mane for free next year, his market value is diminished, even despite his exceptional recent performances.
And it is not just Bayern who are thought to be aware of that, with reports in Spain suggesting that Barcelona have also been monitoring his situation.
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Will Sadio Mane sign a contract extension with Liverpool and what would his wages be?
Reports of talks between Liverpool and Mane’s representatives have simmered for months, with Graeme Bailey of Anfield Watch suggesting on May 6 that the Reds will offer Mane a new deal.
That report stated that the club were prepared to wait until the end of the season to put forward an official offer, with Mane hoping to secure a salary of £300,000 per week ($378k).
Still, the Reds are in a difficult position. Liverpool also have to juggle a possible contract extension with Mohamed Salah, whose own deal expires next year as well.
It’s possible that the club could be priced out of being able to afford salary increases for both their star attacking players and may very well be forced to choose one over the other.
The winter transfer window addition of Luis Diaz, who has proven a revelation at Anfield, would make the departure of Mane or Salah easier to swallow, but nonetheless it’s clear losing one, or both, of their talismanic strikers would seriously dent Liverpool’s future title hopes.
What has Jurgen Klopp said about a possible Sadio Mane departure?
Speaking ahead of the Champions League final, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp was asked about the Mane situation.
Klopp said he, “couldn’t care less” about the rumors, and that Mane was solely focused on the final match of the season.
The German did, however, seem to accept the idea that there could still possibly be a negative outcome for the club, adding: “Wherever Sadio plays next season, he will be a big player no doubt.”
“It’s not the first time in my career before decisive games #FCBayern rumours are coming up…” 😬#LFC boss Jurgen Klopp says he ‘couldn’t care less’ about reports linking Sadio Mane to the Bundesliga champions 🔴 pic.twitter.com/Mh5YsawVcA
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 27, 2022
What has Sadio Mane said about his Liverpool future?
Mane also addressed the rumors ahead of the Champions League final, promising Liverpool fans answers soon, and hinting that a decision has already been reached.
The Senegal international said that his focus was on the game, but that after the Champions League showpiece he would reveal his decision.
Some took his words to be a signal that he would pledge his future to Liverpool.
“Honestly, the answer I can give you now is I feel very good, and I am fully focused on Saturday’s game,” Mane said. “That is the answer I must give before the final. But come back to me on Saturday and I will give you the best answer you want to hear, for sure. It’s special.
“I will give you all you want to hear then. For now, let’s go win it because I have no time for other things.
“I will do everything possible to win it because it is my and all the boys’ biggest dream, then I will give you the answers.”
How would Sadio Mane fit in at Bayern Munich?
It’s entirely reasonable that Mane would be hotly pursued by Bayern Munich, as the Senegal striker is, on paper, a perfect fit for the Bavarian club.
Bayern are themselves facing the the possible departures of Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry, either this year or next.
Lewandowski has already announced he will not sign a new contract with the club, and while his current deal expires at the end of 2022/23, he’s reportedly pushing for a more immediate move to Barcelona.
Gnabry, meanwhile, is the subject of many rumors involving the likes of Real Madrid and Arsenal, largely fueled by the expiry of his contract next summer as well.
Mane’s versatility to play on the wing or up front as a central striker would be seen as an attractive option for Bayern to fill whichever gap opens up.