Speaking live on talkSPORT, former Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor has delivered a scathing assessment involving Liverpool and the likely departure of Sadio Mane.
The lowdown: Move pending
Having initially remained quiet on where his future may lie after the season, it has since become apparent that the 30-year-old Senegalese star will leave Anfield in the summer.
Mane will end a six-year affinity with the Reds as both Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain eye up a move in the upcoming transfer window.
Leaving with a little over 12 months remaining on a deal at Anfield (Transfermarkt), one pundit has slammed the club for allowing the winger to leave at this stage.
The latest: ‘Ridiculous’
Discussing the future of Mane and Mohamed Salah live on air (Thursday, June 2 9.35am), Agbonlahor was critical of the Reds’ owners for not giving the attacker what he wants.
The 35-year-old said: “Liverpool allowing Mane to go, next season will cost them the title. Haaland is signing for Manchester City, they are becoming stronger.
“You’re going to let Mane leave, you’ve got Diaz and Jota, but they’re not going to get Mane’s numbers, he’s a goalscorer. The threat he gives Liverpool going in behind, making unselfish runs. Salah, they can’t lose, Mane they can’t lose.
“Yes, Liverpool have always had good recruitment, bringing in players. But the numbers that Mane gets, the threat he gives opposition defenders, helps free up space for Salah. For me first of all, Mane leaving is ridiculous. I don’t blame both of them, Mane and Salah the numbers they are getting year in year out – they want paying what they deserve.”
The verdict: Ruthless operators
Albeit there has been no indication the decision is solely down to finances, ultimately, the chances of Liverpool ownership group FSG being held to ransom or indeed succumbing to pressure and paying what they perceive to be over the odds was little to none.
So far, during their 12-year tenure at Anfield, the American owners have proven to be frugal operators when it comes to contracts, transfer business and decision making generally.
Whilst simply paying whatever the likes of Mane and Salah ask for is simple in principle, with it comes demands from elsewhere within the ranks and therefore the risk of upsetting a previously harmonious dressing room.
Despite proving to remain a player at the very top of his game in a 23 goal 2021/22 campaign, at 30, Mane – dubbed a ‘wild animal’ by Pierre Emerick Aubameyang – was never likely to be offered a lucrative new deal given the club’s Modus Operandi of signing young talent and a move this summer whilst the club can likely make a profit on their £34million expenditure would be best for all parties.
In other news: Liverpool identify ‘intelligent’ forward to replace Mane, read more here!
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