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Exciting young African star interesting Newcastle United scouts

Sadio Mané

Reports in France suggest that 21-year-old Sadio Mané is being scouted by Newcastle United. The Senegalese star has 11 goals this season.

If reports in the French press are to be believed, Newcastle United are casting their net wide in the search for a new star to grace St James' Park next season.

Outside of their usual hunting ground in France, reports are that scouts were in attendance in Austria last week to watch Senegalese forward Sadio Mané in Red Bull Salzburg's Europa League match against Ajax. Anyone in attendance would have been impressed as the 21-year-old found the back of the net in the 3-1 win over the Dutch club.

Here are five facts about the potential Newcastle target:

1) Mané comes from the same academy that developed current Newcastle United forward Papiss Demba Cisse. He played for three seasons at FC Metz, playing for their second team in the CFA division and then making 19 appearances as the first team were relegated to the third tier. He only played two games in the Championnat National before moving to Red Bull Salzburg in August 2012 for €4 million.

2) The Senegalese forward hit the ground running in his first season at Salzburg, scoring an impressive 16 goals in 25 starts. He finished the third top scorer in the Austrian Bundesliga as his team finished in second place, qualifying for the Champions League qualifiers. That season he finished behind the 32 goals of Philipp Hosiner of Austria Wien and the 26 goals of his Spanish teammate Jonathan Soriano.

3) He was named as part of the Senegal side that played in the London 2012 Olympics; he made four appearances in the games. He also has 12 full caps for the Lions of Teranga, and has scored three goals. Two of the goals came as Senegal qualified for the 2014 World Cup, scoring in Dakar as they beat Liberia 3-1 and then scored the winner against Uganda in Morocco as Senegal won the game 1-0.

4) This season Mané has mostly played on the left of the Salzburg midfield, but he is a very versatile player. In his first season he played a handful of games upfront, for Senegal he has played as a striker, on the right and as a central midfielder. It is only this season that he has established himself as a left-sided player. He is comfortable with both feet and his pace and change of direction make him a nightmare for defenders.

5) This season his goal-scoring form has continued, he currently has 11 goals in 22 games in the Austrian Bundesliga and has six goals in all European competitions this season, including two goals in Salzburg's 3-0 win over Esbjerg. He also scored a brace as the Austrian club beat German giants Bayern Munich 3-0 in a friendly in January.

images: © subactive, © Werner100359

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