Arsenal legend, Ian Wright, believes that Manchester United have made a big mistake by not trying to sign former Southampton winger Sadio Mane.
The 24-year-old Senegalese international was snapped up by Jurgen Klopp in the summer transfer window for a whopping £34m from Southampton. Manchester United were heavily linked with the speedy winger under the managership of Dutchman Louis van Gaal, but the move never worked out as Mane chose to go to Merseyside instead.
Mane’s signing turned out to be a masterstroke by Jurgen Klopp as the winger has contributed six goals and two assists in just 11 appearances for Liverpool in the Premier League.
Ian Wright spoke to The Sun Goals podcast where he aired his thoughts regarding the Red Devils’ failed pursuit of Mane. “He had a spell where he had a little bit of a sulk on,” he said.
“Ronald Koeman had to put him back in his box and make him realise that he has to play for the team. He got Mane going again. What you’ve seen at Liverpool – at a big club – is that he is a big time player. He has gone into that atmosphere, and he is a duck to water,” he added.
Manchester United have been struggling without the presence of an established quality winger in the squad. Ian Wright also compared Sadio Mane with Manchester United’s 22-year-old struggling winger Memphis Depay.
“He could probably have done the same at Manchester United. They’ll be looking at that and thinking he was one that got away, especially when you’ve got Memphis Depay.”
Depay was signed from PSV Eindhoven in 2015 for £25m, but the Dutchman failed to make any sort of impression in his position and Ashley Young and Jesse Lingard are far from world class.
Although the Red Devils did pursue Mane in the summer transfer window, the Senegalese international did admit that he chose to sign for Liverpool over Manchester United as he felt that he could progress as a player at a club like Liverpool which has a rich history, trophies, and an excellent manager.
“There was interest from a lot of clubs, not just Manchester United, but as soon as I knew Liverpool were interested I just felt it was the right club with the right coach. It was right for me to come here.”
“Liverpool are a massive club with a big history that has won many trophies over the years and as soon as I was told of the possibility to come here and I knew the manager wanted me I said yes,” Mane had stated.
Liverpool will be without the services of Sadio Mane in January as the player will be representing Senegal in the African Cup of Nations.