Sadio Mane’s Man Utd transfer agreement as discussions come up at World Cup
Former Liverpool star Sadio Mane has been ruled out of the World Cup due to injury, but the Senegal international’s Manchester United links have been raised once again.
Sadio Mane might not be playing at the 2022 World Cup, but that hasn’t stopped former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal revisiting the time he attempted to bring the Ballon d’Or runner-up to Old Trafford.
Van Gaal, who managed United between 2014 and 2016, is preparing for his swansong as Netherlands boss. His team will begin their World Cup campaign against a Senegal side shorn of star man Mane, with the forward ruled out of the tournament after sustaining an injury playing for club side Bayern Munich.
Mane himself has spoken about how close he was to joining the Manchester club, only for Liverpool to beat them to the punch. The situation was raised once more ahead of the game in Qatar, and Van Gaal reiterated his stance.
“I wanted him when I was the manager at Man Utd,’ Van Gaal said ahead of the opener. “I chased him at the time.
“I am a fan of Mane. He can break open a match and I would say Senegal will really miss him.”
The 30-year-old ultimately joined Liverpool in 2016 – the same summer in which Van Gaal left Old Trafford to be replaced by Jose Mourinho – and later became a Premier League champion under Jurgen Klopp. Portuguese manager Mourinho looked elsewhere for attacking recruits upon taking over, signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a free transfer and overseeing a £35m move for wide forward Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Can Senegal progress without Mane? Have your say in the comments section
“I have to say, I was really close to going to Manchester United,” Mane told the Daily Telegraph back in May. “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. He said, ‘We have a big project at Liverpool and I want you to be part of it.'”
Mane won every trophy going during a six-year stint at Anfield. He scored in the 2018 Champions League final defeat against Real Madrid before helping Klopp’s side win the trophy 12 months later, and also scored 18 league goals in the 2019-20 season as the Merseyside club won the Premier League title.
Mane’s injury is a major blow to Senegal, after he scored the winning penalty to help them qualify for the tournament. The former Southampton man was also his country’s hero against Egypt in the Africa Cup of Nations final, helping the Lions of Taranga win the tournament for the first ever time.
“Obviously it is a great shame for Sadio Mane, and a shame for the national team, but we need to think about the health and safety of the player,” Senegal manager Aliou Cisse said. “Obviously it is a great challenge for us. All coaches build their team around their best player.
“We have a strong team of young players who are ready to rise to the challenge. It is never easy to play without Sadio, but I think all our players are ready to rise to the challenge.”