By Harry Sykes
Thierry Henry has named Liverpool forward Sadio Mane as his signing of the season in his Sun newspaper end-of-campaign awards.
The Arsenal legend dished out the individual gongs as he ran the rule over the players who have caught his eye during 2016-17.
Mane was ruled out of the last month-and-a-half of the season with a knee injury that required surgery and was also absent in January when he was on Africa Cup of Nations duty for Senegal.
But, in between times, the right-sided forward was outstanding for Liverpool and fully justified the £34million fee the club spent last summer to prise him from Southampton.
Henry nominated Mane as the best Premier League signing of the campaign, ahead of Manchester United free transfer Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
“I’m sad for him that he didn’t finish the season due to his knee injury but before that his impact at Liverpool was huge,” Henry wrote in his Sun on Sunday column.
“It would be a close call with Zlatan Ibrahimovic at United but I’d just go for Sadio.
“His speed, direct running, goals and assists gave Liverpool a real threat going forward.”
In 27 league appearances this season, Mane scored 13 goals and supplied six assists and provided considerable penetration on the flank that was noticeably absent when he was unavailable.
Despite Liverpool’s late really to secure a top-four finish and a place in the final qualification stage of next season’s Champions League, the attack was far less threatening when the Senegalese could not play.