Liverpool are closing in on their first signing of the summer after striking an agreement with Southampton over a deal for the much-coveted winger Sadio Mane – one of Jurgen Klopp’s primary targets in what will be a vital summer for the Reds boss.
According to Sky Sports, the 24-year-old is now undergoing a medical, with the value of the deal at £34m. Meanwhile, BBC Sport has suggested that the fee could potentially even rise to as much as £36m after add-ons, making Mane the most expensive player in Liverpool history.
Fans will only hope he has more of an impact than expensive flops Andy Carroll, bought for £35m in 2011, and £32.5m Christian Benteke.
The player has previously been a target for Manchester United and had to be persuaded to stay on the south coast last summer after interest from Old Trafford.
He later endured a falling out with now ex-Saints manager Ronald Koeman, but the Dutchman’s departure seemingly hasn’t been enough to convince Mane to remain with Southampton for another year.
The sale represents a profit for Southampton in the region of £18m after they paid just shy of £12m to sign the player from Red Bull Salzburg in 2014.
Mane, who reportedly had interest from the Reds when he was still in Austria, scored 10 Premier League goals in his debut season in England. He then looked as though he was struggling for a time early in 2015/16, but eventually ended the campaign on fire and even surpassed his goal tally.
This proposed deal would appear to finally end any chance of Liverpool signing World Cup winner Mario Gotze from Bayern Munich this summer.
Recent reports have suggested that while Gotze has remained a target for Klopp it would have been an either/or situation with regard to the pursuit of Mane. Now that Mane is on the verge of joining, there is no longer the need or budget to go after Gotze as well.