This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
When Sadio Mane joined Southampton from Red Bull Salzburg in 2014 for £20.7m (per Transfermarkt), arguably few casual football fans knew who the Senegalese wide man was.
It took Mane nine matches to open his account on the south coast, but when he did, the goals came flowing. An eleven goal return in his debut season in the Premier League – including a record-breaking hat-trick against Aston Villa in May 2015 – saw people sit up and take notice of the African winger.
Eyebrows may well have been lifted when the former FC Metz forward joined one of Europe’s biggest clubs for a fee close to £40m after just two seasons in the top-flight of England. After all, pundit and Liverpool legend Phil Thompson believed the Reds had ‘overpaid’ for the player at the time.
However, fast forward three years and he is now one of the best football players in not just the Premier League, but the world with fellow top-level professionals such as Cesc Fabregas suggesting as much recently.
Mane has gone onto score 67 goals and provide 24 assists for the Reds, per Transfermarkt, and finished last season as a joint-top goalscorer in the Premier League with 22 goals – the same amount as his Liverpool teammate Mo Salah and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who shared the Golden Boot award with him last term.
There was reported interest from Real Madrid in the summer of 2018, who allegedly wanted Mane to help cope with life after Cristiano Ronaldo following their disastrous campaign without the Portugal star last season – a telling sign of the level that the 27-year-old is now at.
Transfermarkt now values the Senegalese winger at £108m – almost £70m more than he joined Liverpool for in 2016. Great business from the Merseyside titans, who three years ago took a gamble which has massively paid off.
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