Sadio Mane has revealed that he was “very close” to signing for Manchester United before joining bitter rivals Liverpool in 2016.
Mane had agreed a deal with the Red Devils and received a contract from the club before withdrawing from the deal after speaking with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.
The Senegal international said Klopp helped convince him that the Merseyside club was the best destination for him as he looked to make a step up from Southampton.
Sadio Mane has revealed he was ‘very close’ to signing for Manchester United in 2016
Speaking with Jamie Carragher for The Telegraph, Mane said: ‘I have to say I was very close to going to Manchester United. I had the contract there. I had it all agreed.
“It was all set, but instead I thought: ‘No, I want to go to Liverpool.’ He was convinced to go with Klopp’s project. I still remember the first time I got the call from Klopp.
‘I was watching television. It was an action movie, because I love movies, and he told me: “Sadio, listen, I want to explain to you what happened at Dortmund.”
That’s when he thought about signing me for Dortmund and for some reason it didn’t work out. He tried to explain to me and I said, “Okay, it happened.” Sorry for him
He withdrew from the Manchester United deal after speaking with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.
Mane also revealed how Klopp had wanted to sign him while coaching at Dortmund.
Then he told me: ‘now I want you at Liverpool’. And I said: “Okay, Dortmund are behind us, let’s focus on the future.”
He told me: “We have a great project at Liverpool and I want you to be part of it.” Then he asked me what position he wanted, because he could see that at Southampton he played on the right side and he used to play on the left.
‘I said I prefer the left, and then he said, ‘but Coutinho is on the left!’ So I said never mind, I’ll play on the right. He could see me in all positions.’
Mane became the club’s third most expensive signing, behind Andy Carroll and Christian Benteke, when he joined Liverpool for £34m in 2016.
At the time of Mane’s signing, Klopp said: “I have followed Sadio for many years since his impressive performances at the 2012 Olympics, and then watched his development in Austria and in his time at Southampton.
“Since I got here, I have talked a lot with the staff about him and I have always thought that he could be a very good signing for us. He has a lot of quality, works hard and has a very good goalscoring record.
Mane has said he will only reveal his future plans after Liverpool’s Champions League final.
A report in German outlet Bild suggests there is a growing belief that he will go to Bayern Munich.
“When I spoke to him I could tell he was passionate about joining the club and playing for our fantastic fans. I think they will be as excited to see him in a Liverpool shirt as I am.
Klopp now expects the Senegal international to extend his contract as he prepares to enter the final year of his contract at Liverpool.
However, Mane has so far refused to commit and says he will talk more about his plans after Saturday’s Champions League final against Real Madrid in Paris.
Speaking before the match, he said: “For sure it will be special to win it and make it seven (European Cup wins for the club). And this question (my future) I will answer after the Champions League. To stay or not, I will answer after the Champions League”.
Mane has been heavily linked with a move to Bayern Munich. The Bundesliga giants are said to be willing to pay £25m to sign him this summer.
However, his Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah has said he will definitely be at Anfield next year.
Bayern have historically found themselves in the midst of big transfer stories in April or May that have come to fruition, such as when they signed Mats Hummels, Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski from German rivals Borussia Dortmund.
However, the Senegalese international – who has won the African Cup of Nations, the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup – will remain focused on Saturday as he goes in search of his fourth major trophy this season.
Meanwhile, Mo Salah set the record straight on his future at Liverpool by revealing that he will remain at the Merseyside club next season.
Salah said: ‘I’m just focused with the team. I want to win the Champions League again. I want to see Hendo again with the trophy and hopefully he gives it to me later (he holds it up). But I will stay (here) next season, for sure, I will stay next season.’
Like Mane, Salah has just over a year left on his current deal but has yet to agree to new terms as he pushes for a big pay rise after another stellar season.