This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Noel Whelan has heaped praise on Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, but suggested the winger could leave the Reds for one of the La Liga giants.
“What a player, he’s incredible. He is so dangerous, the worst nightmare for any defender. Everyone talks about Mohamed Salah but Mane looks the man and the biggest threat of all.
“He’s so quick and elusive, and unpredictable, too. He scores goals from inside and outside the box, sets them up, takes players on. He can do everything. He would walk into every team in the world – Man City, Real Madrid. Anyone.
“He is worth £150million now. His commodity is massive at the moment.
“Would Liverpool cash in? Well, they sold Coutinho and Suarez, so there’s always that possibility of a Spanish move. He’s such a unique talent, he’s the one you think they will sell if anyone.”
Pretty much everything the former Coventry City and Leeds United striker said is spot on.
It would hurt Liverpool fans to lose Mane. His down-to-earth personality combined with his world-class talent and killer instinct on the pitch have forged a bit of a cult hero, and he fully deserved that Champions League medal last season.
That said, when the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona come calling, even while both are in much worse condition than Liverpool at the moment, it is hard to turn down due to the sheer amount of money on offer.
Cesc Fabrgeas showed just how highly Mane is thought of on the continent earlier this week, anointing him one of the three best players in the world, and if the Spaniard’s former club agree with that verdict, then a fee of around £150m, as Whelan suggests, seems reasonable.
For all of Mane’s qualities, he will be 28 by the end of this campaign, and Liverpool have shown before with Philippe Coutinho that under the guidance of Michael Edwards and Jurgen Klopp they know full well how to reinvest a big transfer fee into the right areas.
If either of the La Liga titans were to stump up £150m, the Reds may well be tempted to take it and replace their superstar with a younger model like Jadon Sancho.