Former Southampton attacker Sadio Mane has recently revealed that he had little choice, in effect, when it came to joining the club from Red Bull Salzburg back in the summer of 2014.
The now 27-year-old proved to be worth every penny of the £11.8million we paid his former club for his services, and as fans will be well aware, we made a significant profit when he was sold on to Liverpool for £34million in 2016.
Having departed with 62 starting appearances to his name and a further 13 showings from the bench, he returned 25 goals across those matches and he was a massive loss when he moved on.
Speaking to Onze Mondial (via Sport Witness recently, the Senegal international revealed that he actually wanted to move to Borussia Dortmund that summer to join up with Jurgen Klopp, but with him refusing to move to Russia, Salzburg in effect refused to sell him to Dortmund – so his only option was to move to the Premier League when we showed an interest.
“That transfer was tough and complicated. I’ll tell you the truth. Southampton is a very good club, but I didn’t want to go there. It was really complicated. That’s where I changed agents to the one I have now, Bjorn Bezemer. My aim was to sign at Dortmund because Jurgen Klopp wanted me. Except Salzburg was already in agreement with Spartak Moscow. They wanted to sell me in Russia to get the most money. Dortmund were ready to pay 12m Euros. I said no to Russia. My dream was to play in the best leagues. This story created issues between the club and myself. I missed a game and they got knocked out of the Champions League. They started to say it was my fault. They said no to Dortmund and I was saying no to Moscow, and that’s when Southampton appeared. I didn’t really have a choice, so I went to Southampton. I couldn’t stay in Salzburg, couldn’t go to Dortmund or Moscow, so I signed at Southampton.”
Thankfully he didn’t perform like he didn’t want to be with us, but it certainly gives another reason behind why he was so quick to jump ship when Liverpool came in for him. I actually imagine it happens in the game far more than fans actually realise, so in some senses maybe you have to admire his honesty here?
For others, it’ll simply be another stick to beat him with following his departure.