Hasan Salihamidzic has revealed the unexpected circumstances behind Bayern Munich’s high-profile pursuit of Senegal forward Sadio Mane.
According to Bild, the Sporting Director was in his garden discussing the contract of Bayern forward Serge Gnabry, who shares the same agency as Mane, before the idea of signing the player was even on the German titans’ radar.
Bayern confirmed the £35.1million deal to sign Mane from Liverpool on Wednesday, with the player putting pen to paper one a three-year deal worth £250,000-a-week at the Allianz Arena.
Hasan Salihamidzic revealed the decision to move for Sadio Mane took place in his garden
Salihamidzic told the German outlet: ‘It was in my garden. Marco Neppe and I sat together with Björn Bezemer and Daniel Delonga, their ROOF agency represents Serge Gnabry. It’s no secret we were in talks because we want to extend with Serge.
‘That was when the name of Sadio Mané was mentioned for the first time, as he’s also represented by Björn.
‘During the talks I thought to myself: ‘Something is possible!’ – As Björn was leaving, I asked him how big the chances really are.
The discussions over a Mane move came up as he shares an agent with Bayern’s Serge Gnabry
Gnabry’s deal runs out in summer of 2023
‘When I heard that Mané rejected all Liverpool’s attempts to extend his contract, I was immediately interested. Two days later, Julian Nagelsmann, Marco and I were on a plane to Liverpool.
‘For me it was immediately clear, if there was really a chance to sign Sadio Mané, I was ready to work on it day and night. Julian was fully behind it from the start.’
In a six year spell at Liverpool, the Senegalese international scored 120 goals in 269 appearances in all competitions, and won six trophies, including the Champions League and Premier League.
However, with the signing of Uruguay striker Darwin Nunez on an £85m deal from Benfica Mane’s position in the Liverpool hierarchy was potentially under threat.
And with just one year left on his current deal the player decided that this summer would be the right time to move on, after Liverpool fell to an agonising 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid in May’s Champions League final.
Of his move to Bayern, Mane said: ‘When my agent first told me about Bayern’s interest, I was immediately excited.
The Senegalese international confirmed his desire to quit Anfield at the end of the season
‘I saw myself there right away… It’s one of the biggest clubs in the world and the team is always fighting for every title. So for me it was a very good idea and the right decision to come here.
‘My agent told me that there were enquiries from other clubs. That’s part of the business.
‘But I got the feeling right away when Bayern presented their plan to me. I found myself in Bayern’s plan more than anyone else.’
The Senegal star joins Julian Nagelsmann’s Bundesliga champions for £35.1million
The 30-year-old is the first of Jurgen Klopp’s original fearsome front three to leave the club
Germany star Gnabry’s contract at the Bavarian giants expires at the end of next season, and Salihamidzic made it clear that the club want to extend his stay at the Allianz Arena.
Gnabry has been a fixture in the Bayern team of late, having joined the club from Werder Bremen in 2017 for £7.2m, and played every single Bundesliga game last season, scoring 17 and assisting ten in 45 games in all competitions.
The 26-year-old forward was one of a number of Bayern’s attackers linked with a move, alongside Robert Lewandowski, but the Sporting Director Salihamidzic insisted Mane was not signed to replace any of his current players.