Southampton winger Sadio Mane has been a target for Manchester United this summer, with the Red Devils having missed out on former Barcelona forward Pedro Rodriguez. Mane signed for the Saints in 2014, and has since scored 10 goals in 30 league games, but question marks remain if the 23-year-old can step up to the level of a side such as United.
The South Coast club were reported to have rejected a £15M bid for the former Salzburg man, but Southampton manager Ronald Koeman denied any former interest ever taking place. He said: “Yes, he wants to stay. He knows that there’s no bid for the player. His agent knows. He knows. The club knows. I know. Everybody knows.”
Mane has made a real impact in the Premier League since making the switch to the Premier League, terrorising defenders with his blistering pace and skill set, while also showing a real eye for goal. His best performance in a Southampton shirt will have arguably been his infamous nine-minute hat-trick in the Saints’ 6-1 win against Aston Villa at the tail-end of last season.
Manchester United quickly turned their attentions to the Senegalese star after losing out on Pedro to Chelsea, but the interest has surprised many given the competition Mane would face at Old Trafford. Memphis Depay, Juan Mata, Antonio Valencia, Adnan Januzaj and Ashley Young can all operate on either flank for the Red Devils, so it’s hard to see where the Southampton man would fit in.
The young forward does share some qualities that would make him a good acquisition, however, with his penchant to cut inside and build attacks though the middle of the park. He attempted 100 dribbles in the Premier League last season, while creating 40 chances for his teammates too, but does he match up to the likes of Depay and Mata among others?
Manchester United’s weak pursuit of Pedro has left them red-faced this summer, but the priority should be with a striker given the lack of options in attack (Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, James Wilson). The rest of the United side largely picks itself, but they are having problems scoring goals early into the new campaign. It’s why their alleged pursuit of Sadio Mane makes little sense, as Manchester United have too much competition in his preferred position, and its an addition that doesn’t solve their striker problems.
Is Sadio Mane good enough for Manchester United?