Imagine signing Sadio Mane and Toby Alderweireld on Deadline Day. Just imagine it.
You’d be happy with that if you were a side regularly competing in the Champions League, but in this instance, it was Ronald Koeman’s Southampton who secured the eye-catching double deal back in the summer of 2014.
Just to emphasise how good that business was, both men started in the most recent Champions League final.
However, the capture of Mane was arguably more impressive, as Alderweireld was only a loan deal.
Southampton handed RB Salzburg £10m to bring the Senegal international to St Mary’s, where he enjoyed a hugely successful two years.
Across those two years, the forward – now rated at £135m – made 75 appearances, scoring an impressive 25 goals which works out at a clean record of a goal every three games. Mane also grabbed 14 assists in that time.
If you were to divide his transfer fee by his amount of goals, then the former FC Metz attacker only cost Southampton £400k per strike, which is excellent value for money – the 27-year-old also scored the Premier League’s fastest ever hat-trick while playing for the Saints, netting the treble against Aston Villa in just two minutes and 56 seconds, somehow.
The Sedhiou-born forward eventually joined Liverpool for £34m, netting Southampton a hefty £24m in profit – Mane has since gone on to win the Champions League, Super Cup, Club World Cup and is surely set to win his first Premier League title soon.
While the St Mary’s faithful didn’t get to see too much of the Senegalese marksman’s prime years, nothing can be taken away from the fact that Koeman landed a complete and utter gem for Southampton back in 2014, and for a bargain price as well.
It truly is testament to how good Southampton’s scouting system was back then – Virgil van Dijk arrived just one year after Mane, adding further weight to that specific point.
In other news, this Jan Poortvliet signing went on to ruin his Southampton legacy after his bargain move…