Sadio Mane has just 18 months left on his £200,000 per week Liverpool contract and it’s difficult to make a case for why FSG should offer him a massive extension as he no longer fits into the mould of elite attackers.
He started the season with all the promise of a player that looked set to return to his best and he has had some great moments this season. Yet, the goals have dried up and he looks frustrated, short on confidence and ideas.
Simply put, he doesn’t look like a player that Liverpool will be in a rush to hand a massive contract to when he will be 30 next season.
It’s heartbreaking because it feels like the end of an era is approaching as Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah could be broken up soon.
In many ways, they have already been with Diogo Jota the new preferred no.9 in Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI this season although Firmino has struggled with injury.
If Liverpool were to refuse to offer Mane a new contract, who could they sign though? It’s not as though there are world-class forwards available left, right and centre.
The FSG options – Pedro Neto and Harvey Barnes
The season before Mane joined Liverpool, he was a menace to the Premier League and he had become a goal threat as well as a player that could stretch an opponent’s backline with his unbelievable pace.
He joined the Reds in the summer of 2016 for a fee widely reported to be £34m but the season prior, the 2015/16 campaign, he scored 15 goals and got 9 assists.
Neto and Barnes haven’t come anywhere near that kind of output and that’s if you combine their goals and assists which is a real concern if Liverpool are still interested in them.
They fit the FSG profile; young, high potential for ROI, ability to press which is important for Jurgen Klopp but the lack of goal threat in recent seasons is a real issue.
Federico Chiesa – European champion but unable to shoulder big team pressure
Juventus are struggling this season. The Serie A giants are 5th in the table – 12 points off the top of the table and Chiesa, their star man, has just 3 goals and 3 assists in 1091 minutes this season.
He was electric, sensational and virtually untouchable at the EUROs as he helped Italy win the tournament but this season, his levels have dipped tremendously.
You might think Jurgen Klopp could get the best out of him but given the outrageous fee that Juventus would demand, you’d expect him to be hitting Mohamed Salah-type numbers prior to a move to Anfield.
A report from September claimed that Liverpool made an £86million bid to sign Chiesa but that kind of money is only worth it for a player like Erling Haaland or Kylian Mbappe as they guarantee you over 45+ goal contributions per season.
Vincius Jr – My favourite player to watch in Europe right now
Well, after Liverpool stars, of course.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Brazilian is doing as well as he is given that Real Madrid spent £38million to sign him as a 16-year-old in 2017 and while it appeared as though he wouldn’t get along with Karim Benzema, they are flourishing in attack together.
This season, Vinicius has 12 goals and 9 assists and while he has added the efficiency to his game that you need to become a top player in Europe, he has kept the Samba magic that defines his game -much like Neymar Jr.
I don’t know if he would be able to get away with elasticos and rainbow flicks in England but I would love to see Jurgen Klopp take the Brazilan to the next level and see what he could do from an inside forward position.
However, it’s obvious that with his Los Blancos contract set to run until 2024, he will not be allowed to leave for anything other than a ridiculous transfer fee but Vinicius would be the most fun Mane replacement for the future.
If it’s a case of waiting for his contract to run down to see his market value trickle down as well, I’m happy to wait.
Kylian Mbappe – The dream option but Real Madrid hold all the cards
The Frenchman is now free to talk to other clubs now that he has just 6 months remaining on his PSG contract.
Real Madrid are the undisputed favourites to sign Mbappe but Liverpool should be doing everything they can to sign the former AS Monaco wonderkid especially when it’s blatantly clear that he’ll end his career with at least one Ballon d’Or.
If he were to replace Mane – who, by the way, is a Liverpool legend and deserves to go out on his own terms even if he is on the decline – the Reds would go up a level and wouldn’t be so one-sided in terms of depending so much on Mohamed Salah for goals.