Sadio Mane has effectively confirmed his desire to leave Liverpool in the summer transfer window, telling journalists he will “do what the Senegalese want.”
Weeks before the Champions League final, rumours linking Mane with Bayern Munich emerged from Germany, with speculation mounting in the days building up to Paris.
Prior to the loss to Real Madrid, Jurgen Klopp admitted “wherever Sadio will play next season, he will be a big player,” while the No. 10 himself made a strange comment during Liverpool’s media day at Kirkby.
“Come back to me on Saturday and I will give you the best answer you want to hear, for sure,” he said. “It’s special.”
That led supporters to believe he was, in fact, intending to stay at Liverpool, but immediately after the final, reports on Merseyside claimed he was seeking an exit.
Now, while on duty with Senegal, Mane has given his biggest hint yet that he wants to leave.
“Like everyone else, I’m on social media and I see the comments,” he said, as translated by Goal.
“Isn’t it between 60 to 70 percent of Senegalese that want me to leave Liverpool?
“I will do what they want.
“We will see soon! Don’t be in a hurry because we’ll see this together.”
Now, it is clear Mane has a very particular sense of humour, and there is more than an element of sarcasm in these latest comments.
But this is a bizarre situation to wedge himself in, particularly given there is little clamour among Liverpool fans for him to reverse his decision, and more an acceptance that, after six years, he can move if he wishes.
The only point of contention would be whether Mane is subtly agitating for a swifter resolution to talks between the club and Bayern.
Liverpool are reported to be seeking a fee in the region of £42.5 million for the 30-year-old, while Bayern are quoted as being willing to pay closer to £25.6 million.
Furthermore, the Reds are looking to bring in a replacement before sanctioning any sale for Mane, which is sensible given other clubs could hold them to ransom over targets if they were to conduct business the other way around.
But if Mane is, in fact, mounting the offensive when it comes to his efforts to leave, he runs the risk of burning bridges with the fans who have adored him since his arrival in 2016.