Sadio Mane may not be a household name in England, despite appearing at the Olympics two years ago, but the versatile midfielder could be about to star in the Premier League with West Ham United closing in on a deal for the player.
But what do we know about the Senegal star? Read on and find out.
1. The Records.
Signed by Red Bull Salzburg from French Ligue 2 side Metz for £3.52 million back in 2012, Mane has impressed during his two-year spell in the Austrian Bundesliga, scoring 29 goals in 54 appearances for the club, as well as racking up a credible four goals in 15 games for the Senegal national team.
2. The Interest
The 22-year-old winger has been the subject of much interest from the Premier League and Bundesliga in recent months with the likes of Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City all thought to be keen on signing the Senegal international.
Former Red Bull Salzburg manager, Roger Schmidt, is also believed to be keen on bringing the player to new club Bayer Leverkusen, while the African is thought to be on Borussia Dortmund’s radar.
3. The West Ham Bid
Mane wasn’t West Ham’s first choice, with the Irons only pursuing the midfielder after a loan deal for AC Milan star M’Baye Niang fell though, with the Rossoneri keen to complete a permanent deal for the player, who spent time on loan at Montpellier last season.
Nevertheless, the Hammers have emerged as the favourites to land the player, having made enquiries about his availability. In this instance, Mane could join on an initial loan deal with a view to earning a permanent contract.
4. The Olympics
It would be fitting for Sadio Mane to join West Ham United, the club set to move into the stadium used during the London Olympics, given that the winger first starred for Senegal at the Games two years ago.
The 22-year-old featured in all four of the Lions of Teranga’s fixtures at the Olympics, playing all but seven minutes of their run to the quarter-finals, where they were beaten 4-2 after extra-time by eventual Gold medallists Mexico.
5. The Legend
The former Metz star has garnered particular praise from a former Sam Allardyce player and star of Senegal’s heroic showing at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea – Khalilou Fadiga.
The former Inter Milan and Bolton Wanderers midfielder reacted positively to comparisons made in the press, with Mane identified as the new Fadiga of the 2014 team, playing as the team’s no.10.