The Sun reported over the weekend that Sadio Mane could be subjected to a little bit of a Manchester tug of war come the summer. With Pep joining the Manchester City project this coming summer, Txiki Begiristain has highlighted Mane as a source of pace as Manchester City’s impending tactical overhaul seems to have a little more Bayern than it does Barcelona about it.
For Manchester United, transfers will be yet another battlefield in which Manchester City will be looking too gazump their city rivals. It would have been hard to believe that Guardiola wasn’t mentioned as a potential successor to Van Gaal, and after potentially losing one battle, already Sadio Mane might be the next name added to the list but is Mane the player that Manchester United need going forward into next season?
In short, yes. Massively so.
With Memphis Depay struggling settling into Premier League life, to the point where this week the young Dutchman has been turning out for the Under-21’s to search for minutes on the pitch, Manchester United will naturally be looking to add depth to the wide positions. Jesse Lingard has looked impressive since being given a run of games and comes as a welcome reminder of the ethos that United is so famed for, the promotion of young players but in terms of wide men with Premier League experience, the list is very short.
It is true that Martial currently plies his trade out wide and Manchester United have Valencia and Ashley Young but I doubt Martial was signed to play out wide for a long period of time and both Valencia and Young being utilised as bit part forward or defensive cover. United are currently crying out for a player of Sadio Mane’s ability, directness and versatility in the final third of the field. Last season Mane contributed 11 goals and 4 assists and whist he hasn’t scored since October against Liverpool (and only 3 goals all season), Mane has upped his assists impressively to 8 in the league. For a Manchester United side shy in front of goal, any forward who can offer around 15 goals and assists is always going to have a positive impact on the side.
If Mane were to join the seemingly annual pilgrimage from Southampton to the North-East, it hasn’t provide the most successful career path.
Southampton’s ability to negotiate good fees for their players has seen the club able to re-invest in their own playing squad without their league form truly suffering. For the players that depart however, their performances arguably have dropped since leaving Southampton. Dejan Lovren, Rickie Lambert and even Adam Llanna have struggled to emulate their respective Southampton performances when playing for Liverpool and Morgan Schneiderlin hasn’t managed to replicate the dynamism in midfield that saw him garner so much acclaim at Southampton.
Sadio Mane undoubtedly would add another dimension to the current Manchester United squad, and whilst City’s interest could be seen as a little bit of a surprise, it is proof of how well regarded the 23 year old is now considered by the biggest clubs in the country. For Mane however, it is one thing pulling out the tricks and the performances at a club like Southampton, it is a very different environment doing the same at Manchester United. Just ask Memphis Depay.
Rich, The Sweeper Blog
(Featured image isn’t my own, please click on the image to find source article)