By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Liverpool’s scouts recommended new signing Sadio Mane to Brendan Rodgers two years ago and he was declined, according to a report.
The Telegraph claim that members of the club’s recruitment team want it made public that Mane was on their radar before he joined Southampton.
It is said that ex-manager Rodgers was not interested in making a move for the Senegal attacker despite the glowing reports he was given about the player.
Liverpool completed the signing of Mane from Southampton on Tuesday for a fee which has been speculated at costing between £30million and £38.5million.
Pointedly, Southampton claimed in a statement that Mane had cost the Merseysiders a “club-record fee”, costing more than the £35million it took to prise Andy Carroll from Newcastle in January 2011.
Since Rodgers rejected Mane, he has staked his claim in the last two years to be one of the outstanding wide players in the Premier League and will provide Liverpool with a much-needed goal threat from an attacking midfield position.
At Southampton, he scored 13 goals and supplied nine assists from 40 matches in his debut campaign and followed it up with an even more impressive 15 goals and nine assists from 43 matches in 2015-16.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp made it clear on Tuesday that he was overwhelmingly behind the recruitment of Mane.
“I have followed Sadio for a lot of years since his impressive performances in the Olympics in 2012, and then watched his development in Austria and in his time at Southampton,” Klopp said. “Since I came here I have spoken to the staff a lot about him and have always felt he could be a very good signing for us.
“He has a lot of quality, works hard and has a very good goalscoring record.
“When I spoke to him I could tell that he was passionate about joining the club and playing for our fantastic fans.
“It is great that we have managed to sign him so he can work with us from the first day of pre-season.”
The Senegal international has become Liverpool’s fourth signing over the summer after Joel Matip (free from Schalke), Marko Grujic, whose £5m switch from Red Star Belgrade was agreed in January, and goalkeeper Loris Karius from Mainz.
In other Liverpool transfer news, the Merseysiders have tabled a £7million bid for a Premier League wonderkid.