Noel Whelan claims it would be a serious statement of intent from Liverpool if they tie Sadio Mane down to a blockbuster new contract amid interest from Real Madrid.

The former Leeds United striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, suggested a new deal would show the Reds standing in football having lost many players to Madrid and Barcelona in the past.

Football Insider revealed in March that Zinedine Zidane is a big admirer of the Senegal international and is considering a move for the winger despite having only signed Eden Hazard last summer.

Mane signed his last contract extension in November 2018 and it runs until the summer of 2023.

However, Football Insider understands that the club are willing to reward him with a huge new deal that will see him command a massive salary.

When asked by Football Insider how important it was to tie the Senegal international down to a new deal, Whelan said: “It is massively important they get him tied down to a new deal.

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“Show the player what he is worth and reward him for the performances he has put in. He has been exceptional. Over the past three seasons, he has been absolutely crucial and better than Salah.

“Liverpool are showing their credentials by keeping hold of players because usually when Real Madrid or Barcelona come calling – players jump off.

“Liverpool are showing their strength. They have the money to match Real Madrid and they are serious about retaining the title and going further in the Champions League. To do that you need to keep these players.

“I am sure Liverpool are telling Sadio Mane they will be investing this summer to make them even stronger.”

In the last 11 years, the Reds have lost Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano, Alvaro Arbeloa, Luis Suarez and Phillipe Coutinho to the La Liga giants.

Mane has scored 18 goals and provided 12 assists in his 38 appearances this season.

In other Liverpool news, it can be REVEALED that deal has been done for Lallana’s replacement.