Liverpool have set a lofty price tag for Sadio Mane after the No. 10 set his sights on a summer transfer, but there is still a chance he stays until 2023.
Mane has likely played his last game for the Reds, having stayed on for the full 90 minutes in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
It was supposed to be a triumphant farewell for the 30-year-old, but instead that came the following day as 500,000 supporters lined the streets of Liverpool for the club’s trophy parade.
The forward will now join the Senegal squad for their upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Benin (June 4) and Rwanda (June 7) before talks commence over his future.
According to various Merseyside journalists over the weekend, Mane has resolved to leave Liverpool in the upcoming transfer window, with Bayern Munich favourites to sign him.
A potential fee of £25.6 million was widely disputed, and now The Athletic‘s James Pearce claims the club will instead seek a deal in the region of £42.5 million.
Pearce adds that the Reds “would need to have a suitable replacement lined up before sanctioning a sale,” which is standard practice for a club of Liverpool’s recruitment stature.
It is even claimed that “Liverpool believe they would be better off keeping Mane for another 12 months and losing him for nothing in 2023” rather than accept the figures initially reported in the German press.
That may offer a glimmer of hope for at least one more season of the Senegal captain at Anfield but, realistically, that is unlikely to be the case.
Mane has spent the last six years on Merseyside and will be a major loss if he does leave as expected.
Divock Origi is already due to join AC Milan on a free transfer on July 1, while Pearce reports that the Reds are “willing to listen to offers” for Takumi Minamino.
Mohamed Salah has committed for the final year of his contract at the very least, while Roberto Firmino is likely to stay and has expressed his desire to sign a new deal.
Both Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz stand to be long-term fixtures, while new signing Fabio Carvalho is considered a viable option in the attacking line too.
But replacing Mane will be one of the most important jobs for new sporting director Julian Ward this summer, with the likes of Jarrod Bowen, Ismaila Sarr and Jonathan David potential candidates.