Here’s another wrinkle to an already highly anticipated rivalry match-up brimming with storylines aplenty.
Sadio Mane officially joined Liverpool FC and left Southampton FC on June 28th, with the two clubs reportedly agreeing on a fee of £34 million ($44.7m) – rising to £36 million ($47.3m). The 24 year old winger became part of a long list of players moving up from Southampton to Liverpool since 2014. That list includes Rickie Lambert, Nathaniel Clyne, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren.
Today’s reveal- he snubbed Manchester United in order to do so.
“In honesty, there were some clubs interested at that time [in 2015] but I never made any choices then,” he told the Sunday Telegraph. “I did not say I thought of any club and I wanted to play there. That kind of interest gave me a lot confidence on the pitch and made me believe in myself, but I knew this was because of my hard work and I was in a good way.”
“Ronald Koeman was not happy with all the rumours because he wanted me to stay, but it was not too complicated because for me, also, it was not time to go. When I spoke to him I told him, ‘No problem, I will stay.’ It was my decision. I wanted to stay at Southampton.
“I was patient because I remember after the first year [in England] I knew it was better to focus on Southampton. In my head I thought I would be there a couple more years and prove something. I was convinced I still had to prove something, improve more and learn more before I moved to a bigger club. But then I knew when the right time was for me. The extra year helped me get better, and it is important for every player to go step by step.
“It was only when Liverpool came in [last summer] that I never had a second thought and knew I wanted to join. It was different because then was the right moment for me. I finally came to Liverpool and I was happy with that, and now I’m happy I am playing against Manchester United.” (hat tip ESPN FC)
At the time of his signing, Sadio Mane told Liverpool’s official website: “Today is a big day and I am very happy to sign for one of the biggest clubs in Europe.”
“It’s a club that has won a lot of trophies and has a big history. Now I am looking forward to meeting all the staff and my teammates and starting the season.”
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, currently contributes regularly to the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye publication and Bold Global.
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