Why Sadio Mane switching to Real Madrid from Liverpool makes sense
One player from the Champions League final's losing side was apparently eager to swap jerseys before the contest kicked off. Numerous media outlets reported that Sadio Mane had agreed in principle to ditch Liverpool for Real Madrid.
On that gloomy Kyiv night for the Merseysiders, Mane was the standout performer in a team which had no answer to losing best player Mohamed Salah. If any man in red impressed Madrid's hierarchy, it was the tireless Senegalese.
It's unknown precisely when Zinedine Zidane decided to walk away from the European champions. It's understood, though, the French gaffer had sanctioned an off-the-book courting of Mane prior to his resignation. Los Blancos are not expected to end interest anytime soon. The Liverpool winger will top the incoming tactician's summer shopping list.
Considering what usually happens when Madrid demand a new Galactico, expect a deal for Mane to be brokered as soon as the Spanish giants make serious advances. Only a major transfer saga orchestrated by a pragmatic like Daniel Levy can keep the Merengues at bay. Dismiss that, there were offers even the Tottenham Hotspur chairman couldn't refuse. Gareth Bale and Luka Modric both ended up at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Mane fits a ruthless attack perfectly
For Madrid to remain dominant in the Champions League, they must maintain a fearsome attack. Besides Cristiano Ronaldo, the once awe-inspiring BBC has been unproductive. Zidane eventually broke the combination, preferring Isco to Gareth Bale. Karim Benzema offered a miserly contribution in this campaign, scoring only five of Los Blancos' 94 La Liga goals.
No player enjoys sitting out games. Especially one who was the world's most expensive not too long ago. Bale has numerous options to earn more minutes elsewhere. Whether he leaves or not, Madrid must beef up this summer. Although they conquered Europe with the exact same starting eleven on the last two occasions, only a die-hard supporter predicts luck to strike a third time.
Few attackers would offer Real Madrid as much fighting spirit, tenacity or goal-scoring prowess as Mane. He also receives extra points for not being injury prone. Bale seems to spend more time on the treatment table than the pitch.
Mane featuring in the Merengues' attack is what dreams are made of. A 26-year-old energetic winger, gifted with incredible ball skills and blistering pace.
If the Senegal international performs as expected in this summer's World Cup, his valuation could top £70 million. That's not beyond Madrid, though. Neither is it a bad deal.
Liverpool can afford to lose Mane
With the breathtaking performance from Mane, Salah and Roberto Firmino over the past 11 months, Liverpool were always going to struggle to keep all three. While enough has already been written about the Egyptian king, the Brazilian striker has shown a level of clinical astuteness not witnessed by Anfield goers since Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen's days.
Liverpool's formidable trio struck ten or more Champions League goals each this season. They also took England's top flight by storm, scoring a combined 57 times. The Reds want to retain all three attackers, but if pushed, Mane is the likely cash cow. If the funds are put to good use, they wouldn't miss him that much. Adam Lallana is a decent, in-house replacement.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is currently hunting for a talented manager. Perhaps, then, he will tempt Jurgen Klopp to leave Liverpool, as well as Mane.