Sadio Mane of Liverpool has emerged as one of the favourites to replace Barcelona captain Lionel Messi, according to IBTimes. The report suggests that the player has already been offered to the Blaugrana.
The 28-year-old has a long-term contract with Liverpool which ends in 2023. However, the Senegalese winger is apparently intent on a switch to Barcelona as he is confident the club will give him a 'leading role' if Lionel Messi does leave.
Liverpool forward Sadio Mane emerges as Lionel Messi replacement
Sadio Mane has been one of the standout players for Liverpool since his move to the Merseyside. The left-winger scored 20 goals in all competitions last season as he helped the Reds win their first English top-flight title in 30 years.
Lionel Messi seems intent on leaving his boyhood club after Barcelona missed out on silverware for the first time since 2007-08. Messi has reportedly set his heart on a reunion with former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
However, it remains unclear whether the Argentine will be able to leave the club for free this summer. The La Liga confirmed yesterday that Messi's release clause of £630 million still stands despite reports to the contrary.
If the Barcelona captain does move to Manchester for a significant fee, the Blaugrana are likely to reinvest the amount in the first-team squad. The Catalan giants have a good relationship with Liverpool, with Barcelona signing Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho from the 19-time Premier League champions in the last decade.
A move for Mane will likely cost Barcelona a fee similar to the one they paid for Coutinho as the Senegalese forward has played an integral part in the success of Jurgen Klopp's side. With Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, the Senegal international forms one of the most fearsome striking partnerships in Europe.
Mane finished fourth in last season's Ballon d'Or rankings but earned Lionel Messi's vote. Speaking at the gala last year, the Barcelona number ten had said:
It’s a shame to see Mane finish in fourth place. But I think there have been a lot of great players this year. That’s why it was difficult to choose a particular player. But I chose Sadio Mane because he’s a player that I like. Mane achieved a great year that was exceptional for the entire Liverpool team. That’s why I chose him.Published 31 Aug 2020, 19:18 IST