In retrospect, Liverpool’s sale of Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich appears to have been the correct decision
Liverpool were correct to sell Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich in the summer, despite Paul Merson’s claim that it was the ‘worst business ever’. Since signing a £27.5m deal with the Bavarian giants, the Senegalese star has had a difficult time.
Mane was brought in to help supplement Bayern’s goal tally after star striker Robert Lewandowski left the club, but he has yet to live up to expectations at the Allianz Arena. The 31-year-old has only scored seven league goals this season and was recently involved in a heated dressing room brawl with teammate Leroy Sane.
Following a 3-0 loss to Manchester City in the Champions League, Mane allegedly hit Sane in the face, prompting the club to suspend him. Mane returned to the squad for the second leg after missing a league match against Hoffenheim and was fined the most in Bayern history.
A staggering £310,000 (€350,000) far exceeded the £44,000 (€50,000) fine imposed on Franck Ribery following an altercation with Arjen Robben in 2012. However, many people thought Liverpool had made a huge mistake when they let him go, despite the fact that Mane was still regularly appearing in the top Premier League player charts for goals and assists.
Arsenal legend Paul Merson was among the most vocal critics of the transfer, telling Sky Sports: “I’ve said it from day one, selling Sadio Mane was the worst business ever.” The guy scores huge goals. Go through them, first goals, equalizers, last-minute winners, and big goals.
“With his closing down, he led from the front, and for what they sold him for, I just didn’t get it.” Their problems in the back begin at the front.
“They’re not closing down as a unit – you can talk about how talented that front three was all you want, but they closed down from the start.” It would only take one more pass for them to score.”
While Mane has 12 goals and five assists in 34 games for Bayern, the 31-year-old’s overall performance in Bavaria has been lacking. After his spat with Sane, there is speculation that the German champions will sell him this summer.
And considering Mane’s value is only decreasing, Liverpool were correct to sell. If they had kept him, they would have had to extend his contract and pay him well while his standards dropped, or they would have lost him on a free this summer. Given Liverpool’s financial constraints, receiving £25 million was clearly preferable to losing him as a free agent.
At Anfield, Mane has been replaced on the left wing by Luis Diaz, and despite missing 32 games this season due to a knee injury, the Colombian has been in excellent form when he has been fit. Similarly, Darwin Nunez has shown glimpses of the player he can be, though his finishing consistency needs work.