Manchester United almost signed Liverpool forward Sadio Mane in 2016, according to the man himself.
Mane has been a revelation since moving to Anfield six years ago, scoring 120 goals in 268 appearances in all competitions. The Senegal international has won the Champions League, the Premier League, the FA Cup and the League Cup on Merseyside. Liverpool (opens in new tab) paid just £34m to sign Mane from Southampton (opens in new tab) in 2016, but the forward has admitted he came close to signing for United (opens in new tab) instead.
“I have to say, I was really close to going to Manchester United,” he told the Daily Telegraph (opens in new tab).
“I had the contract there. I had it all agreed. It was all ready, but instead I thought, ‘No, I want to go to Liverpool’. I was convinced to go with [Jurgen] Klopp’s project. I still remember the first time I got the call from Klopp.
“I was watching TV. It was an action movie – because I love movies – and he said, ‘Sadio, listen, I want to explain to you what happened at Dortmund (opens in new tab)’.
“That was when he thought of signing me for Dortmund and for some reason it didn’t work out. He tried to explain and I said, ‘it’s okay, it happened’. I forgave him.
“Then he said, ‘now I want you at Liverpool’. And I said, ‘Okay, Dortmund is behind us, let’s focus on the future’.
“He said, ‘We have a big project at Liverpool and I want you to be part of it’. Then he asked what position I wanted, because he could see at Southampton I played on the right side and I used to play on the left.
“I said I prefer left, and then he said, ‘but [Philippe] Coutinho is on the left!’ So I said, never mind, I will play on the right. I could see myself in all the positions.”
Mane’s contract at Anfield expires in 2023 and the Bayern Munich (opens in new tab)-linked forward is expected to announce a decision on his future after Saturday’s Champions League final.
Liverpool will be looking to be crowned European champions for a seventh time when they face Real Madrid (opens in new tab) at the Stade de France.
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New Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has been speaking to the press as he takes control of the Red Devils. The 52-year-old has confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo remains a part of his plans heading into next season, while suggesting that he may need patience to transform Old Trafford in his image.
Rumours are rife that the club are looking to slash the wage bill – with PSG lining up one final attempt to sway Paul Pogba to Paris. There could be plenty of incomings, too: Frenkie de Jong remains a key target at £67.5m, while Raphinha of Leeds is on the radar. Jurrien Timber is one name heavily linked, while United are long-term admirers of Lazio man Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
One slightly leftfield potential buy would be Christian Eriksen from Brentford, who is out of contract following the end of the season.