By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Manchester United have been told that forward target Sadio Mane will cost them £62.5million in transfer fee and wages, according to a report in The Sun.
The Southampton star, who was axed to the bench for disciplinary reasons on Saturday, is interested in moving to Old Trafford.
As revealed by Football Insider, Mane has been offered a new five-and-a-half-year deal by The Saints to replace his existing agreement, which expires in 2018.
But Mane will not sign and this has alerted the 23-year-old’s admirers from the Premier League, who include Manchester United and Chelsea, and will ignite a January scramble for his services.
The Sun reported on Sunday that United have been told the Senegal international wants a five-year deal worth £125,000-a-week, which, on top of a £30million fee, is worth £62.5million in total.
Mane has scored seven goals for Southampton this season, as well as supplying eight assists, in all competitions and has maintained the fine form of his debut campaign.
The forward is regarded as the Saints’ prize asset and the club are privately adamant he will only be sold when they are ready to do so.
Mane, late for a team meeting ahead of Southampton’s 1-0 defeat at Norwich yesterday, wants a big move.
The 23-year-old came on for the last ten minutes but is eyeing United or Chelsea, having made a big impact at St Mary’s since arriving from Red Bull Salzburg in 2014.
But Saints manager Ronald Koeman is concerned that his star player has now lost his focus.
“Sadio was one of the 11 players to start but we have rules,” explained Koeman. “In our last meeting two hours before the game he came late. That is impossible. Everybody knows we have a sanction — you don’t start.
“Then you have to make changes in the team and the set-pieces. I don’t understand a player who comes late to the last meeting.
“My message to him days ago was that he wasn’t really focused. It was Thursday’s training.”
Louis van Gaal has made it clear to United that one of his priorities is to recruit a mobile wide forward capable of getting in behind defences and creating and scoring goals.
United enquired about Mane last summer but Southampton refused to do business at less than £30million, while the Senegalese has also caught the eye of Chelsea.