By Alex Stevens
Liverpool could end up paying Southampton a club-record fee for Sadio Mane, according to a report on Monday.
It was widely reported on Sunday night that Liverpool’s bid for the winger had been accepted by the Saints over the weekend, with most newspaper publications reporting the fee at £30million.
However, the reliable Sky Sports claimed on Monday morning that the two clubs have in fact agreed a deal at between £34million and £36million.
The latter figure would make Mane the most expensive signing in Liverpool’s history, ahead of Andy Carroll, who joined for £35million in January 2011, and Christian Benteke, who cost £32.5million from Aston Villa.
Mane is now bound for Merseyside to undertake medical examinations and negotiate personal terms with Liverpool chiefs.
The breakthrough is a huge boost to Liverpool in their summer transfer plans and continues their policy of raiding the south coast for their new acquisitions.
Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Nathaniel Clyne have all moved from Southampton to Merseyside in the last two years and Mane is now set to become the fifth player to follow an increasingly well-trodden path.
It had been Klopp’s desire to have Mane on board for the start of pre-season – Liverpool’s non European Championship players report for work on July 2 – and he could even make his debut in the first pre-season game at Tranmere on July 8.
Mane has staked his claim in the last two years to be one of the outstanding wide players in the Premier League and would provide Liverpool with a much-needed goal threat from an attacking midfield position.
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.
The 24-year-old will 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.