Liverpool turned down the chance to sign Sadio Mane from Red Bull Salzburg for under £12 million in the summer of 2014, according to Goal – before paying a whole lot more for the Senegal international just two years later.
It’s hard to believe now that so many eyebrows were raised when the Reds invested £34 million in one of the Premier League’s most exciting forwards in 2016 (BBC). Mane had shone during a couple of seasons at St Mary’s, even scoring the fastest hat-trick in Premier League history along the way to shatter a Robbie Fowler record.
But there were still plenty of doubts about whether Mane, an explosive forward prone to long spells of iffy form, could make the grade at Anfield. 66 goals and a Champions League triumph later, however, that £34 million fee now looks like a bargain.
Mane scored yet another sensational effort during a thrilling 4-3 win against former employers Salzburg in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
And, with the benefit of hindsight, the decision to step back and allow Southampton to sign a 22-year-old Mane all those years ago was probably the right call. By the time he eventually arrived at Liverpool, he was proven in the Premier League and ready to make an immediate impact.
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