Sadio Mane had agreed to leave Liverpool for their Champions League final opponents Real Madrid prior to last month’s Kiev showpiece, according to France Football.
In a shock report, France Football claim that Real Madrid were aware that signings were needed this summer in order to close the gap on Barcelona in the league and Mane was going to be the first one through the door.
They claim that the deal was all but done before the 3-1 final defeat, in which Mane scored and was Liverpool’s best player, but the departure of Zinedine Zidane, who was at the forefront of the transfer, has stalled the deal.
They go on to say that it is not off the table – it all depends on Zidane’s successor and whether he wants Mane or not – all that remains is to convince Liverpool to part with the player, who has agreed with Madrid to join them himself.
For all of Liverpool’s collective improvement under Jurgen Klopp, the lightening fast front three are at the heart of all the progress they have made and to lose one would be a major blow this summer.
There is an argument to suggest that Mane is the weakest player among the three and potentially the most easily replaceable but there aren’t many players with the pure speed that Mane has, which is so vital to Liverpool’s gameplan.
Ousmane Dembele is one, and if he came in to replace Mane, it would be a good deal – but the numbers on the deal must be thrashed out and either way, it is not ideal if such a key player has agreed to sign for the opponent prior to Liverpool’s biggest game of the season.