Sadio Mane: Why I turned down Manchester United to sign for Liverpool



Senegalese frontman on how the presence of Jurgen Klopp was key.

Sadio Mane has revealed that he turned down Manchester United before completing a £30millon move to Liverpool .

The Senegalese attacker received an approach from United when he was weighing up his options after deciding to leave Southampton last month.

However, the presence of Jurgen Klopp at Anfield helped convince Mane that Liverpool was the right place for him to advance his career.

Asked about Jose Mourinho’s interest, Mane said: “Yes, it was true.

“There was interest from a lot of clubs, not just Manchester United, but as soon as I knew Liverpool were interested I just felt it was the right club with the right coach. It was right for me to come here.

“Liverpool are a massive club with a big history that has won many trophies over the years and as soon as I was told of the possibility to come here and I knew the manager wanted me I said yes.

“It was the right move. I recognise the size of the club and to progress to another level as a player this was the club and the moment for me. It was a step I needed to make.”

It’s been some journey to Anfield for the most expensive African player in history.

Mane grew up in a small village near Sedhiou in the south of Senegal.

Football was his life and at the age of 13 he watched in awe when the Reds won the 2005 Champions League final against AC Milan in miraculous fashion in Istanbul.

“I was a Barcelona fan,” he said. “My favourite player was Ronaldinho. But I watched a lot of English football and admired lots of English teams.

“The one game that really strikes me is the Champions League final versus AC Milan.

“I was thinking about that game on the day I signed for Liverpool. It is a famous game and it struck everyone in Africa at the time.”

Sadio Mane has revealed that he turned down Manchester United before completing a £30millon move to Liverpool .

The Senegalese attacker received an approach from United when he was weighing up his options after deciding to leave Southampton last month.

However, the presence of Jurgen Klopp at Anfield helped convince Mane that Liverpool was the right place for him to advance his career.

Asked about Jose Mourinho’s interest, Mane said: “Yes, it was true.

“There was interest from a lot of clubs, not just Manchester United, but as soon as I knew Liverpool were interested I just felt it was the right club with the right coach. It was right for me to come here.

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“Liverpool are a massive club with a big history that has won many trophies over the years and as soon as I was told of the possibility to come here and I knew the manager wanted me I said yes.

“It was the right move. I recognise the size of the club and to progress to another level as a player this was the club and the moment for me. It was a step I needed to make.”

It’s been some journey to Anfield for the most expensive African player in history.

Mane grew up in a small village near Sedhiou in the south of Senegal.

Football was his life and at the age of 13 he watched in awe when the Reds won the 2005 Champions League final against AC Milan in miraculous fashion in Istanbul.

“I was a Barcelona fan,” he said. “My favourite player was Ronaldinho. But I watched a lot of English football and admired lots of English teams.

“The one game that really strikes me is the Champions League final versus AC Milan.

“I was thinking about that game on the day I signed for Liverpool. It is a famous game and it struck everyone in Africa at the time.”

His parents repeatedly told him that dreams of playing football professionally were fanciful and urged him to focus instead on his school work.

However, Mane was determined to prove them wrong and his dedication was ultimately rewarded.

“My family are very religious and before my career started they didn’t think I was going to make it as a footballer and did not really encourage me,” he said.

“They didn’t think it was possible so I had to convince them. They wanted me to have an education, but I was concentrating on football rather than wanting to school.

“It came to a head when I was 15 when they realised they could not hold me back.

“I had the possibility of making it. I went to Dakar and attended the ‘Generation Foot’ Academy. It is famous in Senegal where lots of players have come from like Emmanuel Adebayor, Papiss Cisse and Diafra Sakho. From there I joined Metz at 18.

“My family never thought in a million years I would get to this level so it is a dream for them and they are really proud.

“It was not so much that they wanted to prevent me, it was just that they were worried I would not make it through that career path because not many kids make it to be professional footballers.”

And what if football hadn’t delivered him a golden ticket to Europe?

“Fate deals its hand. You go on to have a lot of kids – there is a tradition of having big families in Africa,” he said.

A lot of people are out of work or have rural jobs. Forestry and agriculture are big industries.”

Mane made his professional debut in France’s second tier for Metz in January 2012.

Just seven months later – on the back of his impressive performances for Senegal at the London Olympics – he moved to Austria as Red Bull Salzburg bought him for 4million Euros.

Mane plundered 45 goals in 87 appearances – firing Red Bull to a league and cup double in 2013/14.

Southampton snapped him up for £11.8million and during his two years on the South Coast he netted 25 times in 75 games, including four goals in three outings against the Reds last season.

He had been on Klopp’s radar since the 2012 Olympics and when the call came last month Mane, who has looked razor sharp in training on the club’s tour of the States, jumped at the chance to head for Anfield.

“It was a telephone conversation where we discussed different things,” Mane said.

“He realised I was a young player keen to work hard and progress. I said that was me. I told him I was straightforward and that I want to work hard.”

Back in January he was disciplined by Saints and heavily criticised by Ronald Koeman after turning up late to a team meeting. Mane insists there will be no such problems at Liverpool.

“It was something I learned from. It is not something I intend to allow to happen again,” he added.

“It was a learning curve for me. I am never going to repeat it, no matter who the manager is.”

Mane is the third Senegal international to play for Liverpool following in the footsteps of El Hadji Diouf and Salif Diao.

The pacey winger is friends with Diouf but knows the standing the former striker enjoys in his homeland is far removed from the way in which he’s remembered at Anfield.

As well as his well documented disciplinary problems, Kop flop Diouf went through the entire 2003/04 campaign without scoring a goal.

“I know him well,” Mane said with a smile.

“I first met him at the London Olympics when he came to visit the team and say hello
.
“Before I signed I didn’t get a chance to speak to him, but I have seen he has spoken to the press in Senegal and encouraged me and wished me the best.

“He is a hero in Senegal but of course I have heard maybe not so much in Liverpool.”

The third biggest transfer fee in the Reds’ history brings with it plenty of pressure but Mane is confident he can handle it.

Blessed with blistering pace and power, he certainly looks the ideal fit for Klopp’s Liverpool.

“It’s football isn’t it? That’s the game these days,” he added.

“The thing for me is not to focus on the fee. I just have to focus on what I can do in the games and in training.

“I want to take the club as far as I can.”

Posted by on Jul 27 2016. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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