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Liverpool close to completing the signing of Southampton forward Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane was linked with Manchester United last summer and a year later he will now be joining arch-rivals Liverpool.

Sadio Mane
Sadio Mane is on his way to Liverpool

Liverpool are close to completing a deal for signing Southampton forward Sadio Mane as Jurgen Klopp is preparing for his first summer transfer window since replacing Brendan Rodgers as the manager of the Anfield club last October.

The Senegalese international has been the star player for the South Coast club and after impressing for the Saints, he is now set to join the Merseyside club. According to BBC, the 24-year-old is set to undergo a medical before he completes his switch to Liverpool on Tuesday. Mane had managed to score 15 goals while also picking up 9 assists in 43 appearances for Ronald Koeman’s side.

The 18-time English champions have a history of buying players from the St Mary's Stadium. In the last few seasons, Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Nathaniel Clyne have all moved to Liverpool from Southampton and Mane is set to be the latest player to join that list.

Southampton wanted £40 million for Mane, but Liverpool were £4 million short of their valuation. Now both clubs have agreed on a fee of £36 million, which will allow Mane to join the Merseyside club this summer.

The 24-year-old was on Manchester United’s radar as their former manager Louis van Gaal wanted him to bolster his attack. The Dutchman even made an approach for him earlier in January. However, Southampton were reluctant in allowing their star football player to leave the club and were successful in holding on to Mane. He now joins the Red Devils' arch-rivals as his chances of joining United came to an end when Jose Mourinho replaced Van Gaal.

End of Christian Benteke’s Liverpool career?

Meanwhile, Mane’s arrival is set to mark the end of Christian Benteke’s failed stint with Liverpool. The Belgium international has fallen down the pecking order as Klopp prefers his compatriot Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge ahead of the former Aston Villa striker.

Benteke even admitted that he will decide his future after the culmination of the ongoing UEFA Euro 2016. He is part of the Belgium squad that has made it to the quarter-final of the European Championship in France.

“At 25 years old, I’m neither old nor young but it’s important to play,” Benteke said, as quoted by The Guardian.

“I still have a contract at Liverpool and I’d like to stay there, if I remain in the coach’s plans. If that’s not the case, it will become difficult to stay. I’ll think about if after the Euros.

“I was prepared for what I went through [last season]. I knew that if I had mixed performances I would be criticised. That’s what happened.

“When he [Klopp] arrived I saw that I wasn’t in his plans. That was frustrating because I knew that during my first season at Aston Villa he wanted me. But we had several discussions together, I respect and I understand his decisions.”

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