By Amir Mir
Liverpool legend Phil Thompson has admitted the club have overpaid for Sadio Mane but has compared him favourably to incoming Manchester United signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Jurgen Klopp has signed Mane for a fee believed to be in the region of £30-38.5m.
Sky Sports pundit Thompson reckons Mane is better value than United paying out what he claims is £30million for Mkhitaryan.
Asked by Sky Sports about Mane, Thompson said: “I think we’ve paid far too much for him.
“Perhaps it’s because of the money coming into the Premier League. Just look at Crystal Palace reportedly making a £31m bid for Michy Batshuayi.
“It’s the same with Manchester United stumping up £30m for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, a 27-year-old who doesn’t score as much as Mane.”
Armenian attacker, Mkhitaryan signed from German club Borussia Dortmund, the 27-year-old scored eleven Bundesliga goals in 2015/16- the same as Mane, but the United player produced 15 assists in Germany compared to six for Liverpool’s new man.
However, Mkhitaryan triumphs Liverpool’s new record signing with 18 goals in all competitions compared to Mane’s 15 goals and six assists. The United man produced more assists than goals with 20 in all competitions, including five in the German cup, before his side were narrowly beaten on penalties in the final to Bayern Munich.
Thompson believes the capture of the 24-year-old is a much needed boost to Liverpool’s style of play as Mane offers something different compared to the other Liverpool attackers.
“I see it as an absolutely pivotal signing, one that was needed as the other attacking midfielders are more technical players and don’t really have the pace,” said Thompson.
“Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino are all quite similar so I’m not surprised Klopp has looked to add something different – a player that gives them a threat on the counter-attack and also adds goals.”
Mane scored eleven goals in the recently concluded Premier League season, this was more than England striker Daniel Sturridge who managed eight after yet another injury plagued season.
Thompson feels Sturridge has lost that raw pace due to constant injuries, but is hopeful that Mane and Divock Origi can cause opposition team problems in the coming season.
“Daniel Sturridge also seems to have lost his pace a bit, probably due to the amount of injuries, which we saw with Michael Owen, so there’s only really Divock Origi who can stretch teams,” said Thompson.
In other Liverpool news, highly rated Italian based striker set to snub move to Anfield club and move back to Spain.