Liverpool could end up paying £38.5m for Southampton's Sadio Mane
Southampton insisted that Liverpool agree a deal that could break their existing transfer record in order to sign the striker Sadio Mane, who will be the club’s most expensive signing of all time if the targets laid out for him in the agreement between the two clubs are achieved.
It was made clear to Liverpool that there was no prospect of Mane leaving unless they paid well in excess of £30 million and the deal could yet reach £38.5 million based on the Merseyside’s club’s Champions League prospects.
With expressions of interest from Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Arsenal during the course of the previous season, Liverpool were keen to get the deal done quickly.
Liverpool have made an up-front payment of £34.5 million to Southampton, just £500,000 short of the fee paid to Newcastle United in January 2011 for the striker Andy Carroll, still the club’s record signing.
That figure will rise to between £36 million and £38.5 million depending on Mane’s appearances and Liverpool’s success this season in qualifying for the Champions League and how far they get in the competition the following season, 2017-2018.
Those add-on are regarded as much more attainable by Southampton than the individual-based achievements that are written in to some big transfer deals, such as winning the Ballon d’Or or international success.
Liverpool came up around £10 million from their original offer to get the deal done before the squad return for pre-season training.
The major attraction for Mane was to play under Jurgen Klopp, who has been a powerful asset for Liverpool in signing players this season. For that reason Southampton were happy to deal with Liverpool swiftly as long as the club agreed the kind of fee and add-ons that were acceptable given his market value.
It is another major transfer profit for Southampton’s recruitment team led by Les Reed, on a player who signed for £11.8 million two years ago from Red Bull Salzburg.
Southampton will announce the appointment of Claude Puel as manager this week and have already tied up a deal for Nathan Redmond from Norwich City. They have now received almost £100 million in fees from Liverpool alone for five players over the last three summer windows. The club are confident that their plans for recruitment this summer, with input from Puel, will lay the basis for another successful season.