Sadio Mane reveals he had agreed Man Utd contract before Liverpool switch

Tom Gott
Mane came close to joining United
Mane came close to joining United / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Sadio Mane has revealed how a late call from Jurgen Klopp convinced him to choose Liverpool over Manchester United at the last minute.

Liverpool signed Mane from Southampton in the summer of 2016, parting ways with £34m which many fans thought was far too high, but the winger quickly proved his doubters wrong and blossomed into one of the game's top forwards.

He could have been enjoying his meteoric rise in the red of United had things worked out differently, with Mane telling Jamie Carragher (for The Telegraph) he was a signature away from heading to Old Trafford instead of Anfield.

“I have to say, I was really close to going to Manchester United,” said Mane. “I had the contract there. I had it all agreed. It was all ready, but instead I thought, ‘No, I want to go to Liverpool’. I was convinced to go with Klopp’s project. I still remember the first time I got the call from Klopp.

“I was watching TV. It was an action movie - because I love movies - and he said, ‘Sadio, listen, I want to explain to you what happened at Dortmund’. That was when he thought of signing me for Dortmund and for some reason it didn’t work out. He tried to explain and I said, ‘it’s okay, it happened’. I forgave him. Then he said, ‘now I want you at Liverpool’. And I said, ‘Okay, Dortmund is behind us, let’s focus on the future’.

“He said, ‘We have a big project at Liverpool and I want you to be part of it’. Then he asked what position I wanted, because he could see at Southampton I played on the right side and I used to play on the left. I said I prefer left, and then he said, ‘but [Philippe] Coutinho is on the left!’ So I said, never mind, I will play on the right. I could see myself in all the positions.”

Mane's willingness to play anywhere across the attacking line - he has been a central striker since the January arrival of Luis Diaz - is something he prides himself on.

“You can see yourself better in one position, but then you realise what is best for the team," he explained. "It is important as a player to be able to try every situation in training.

"Usually when I train in front of the goal coming from the left it is easier for me to shoot with my right side, so I spent a lot of time doing it the other way. In my mind I can always be ready and change at any time. I shift my body in training between the left and right to prepare myself for the situations.”