What’s the story?
Well, the 54-year-old simply cannot believe Jürgen Klopp allowed the Senegal international to join Bayern Munich in a deal worth £30m.
Merson compared the move to Maupay joining Everton for £15m – a deal which was announced yesterday.
Speaking on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday, he said: “With Sadio Mane, I thought it was the worst bit of business I’ve ever seen in football for a long, long time. It was one of the worst I’ve ever seen. £30m for a big-game player. If I’m the owner of the club, I want to win the league and you keep Mane to give yourself the best chance of that.
“Let him go for free next summer, he’s done enough for the club and it’s only £30m. Maupay’s just gone for £15m. You can’t tell me Mane is only twice the player he is. I think that’s now come back to bite them.”
We can see where Merson is coming from, although context is absolutely required.
Mane actually wanted to leave Liverpool after spending six years at Anfield, and with just 12 months remaining on his contract, the Reds granted his wish and made £30m instead of keeping an unsettled player.
Merson claims that the 30-year-old would’ve given Liverpool a great chance of winning the Premier League this season, although there is no guarantee that Mane would’ve even been willing to play had his request been denied.
In regards to his Maupay comparison, we agree that the price Everton paid for the Frenchman is a bit much.
However, the 26-year-old was out of favour under Graham Potter, but had no desire to leave, so the scenario is a little bit different.
Liverpool & Everton have bought well
In our view, Julian Ward and Kevin Thelwell – Sporting Directors at Liverpool and Everton respectively – have actually overseen some decent business for Klopp and Lampard this summer.
The signing of Amadou Onana was a bit expensive at £33m, although the Belgium international has started well on Merseyside and looks like he could become a superstar.
Thelwell’s capture of James Tarkowski on a free transfer was also shrewd, as was the loan addition of Conor Coady.
In Liverpool’s case, Darwin Nunez looks like he could become a new cult hero at Anfield – once he returns from his suspension after head butting Joachim Andersen against Crystal Palace – while the £5m signing of Fabio Carvalho was a masterstroke by Ward.
Of course, Mane was fantastic for Liverpool, but Merson is wrong to criticise the Reds for selling him – after all, they have done well to replace him with the energetic Luis Diaz, who looks set to follow in his footsteps.