Jamie Redknapp and Dion Dublin have urged Liverpool to do everything to keep Sadio Mane at the club after he was linked with a summer move to Bayern Munich.
Mane — whose form in recent weeks has been outstanding — is entering the final year of his contract like Mohamed Salah but, as yet, no significant discussions have taken place about extending his stay at the club, which began in June 2016 after he signed from Southampton.
Reports in Germany emerged on Monday night claiming that Bayern’s sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic met Mane’s representatives in Majorca last Friday.
Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has been linked with a summer move to Bayern Munich
Jamie Redknapp (left) and Dion Dublin (right) have urged Liverpool to keep him at the club
And while some sources have insisted that Mane’s name had not been discussed, with the player’s agency also looking after Bayern forward Serge Gnabry, Redknapp and Dublin believe the Reds cannot afford to allow him to leave.
Ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League clash with Aston Villa on Tuesday, Redknapp said: ‘He [Mane] sets the tempo. He has every single technique you want, I’ve been so impressed with him.
‘There’s been talk of Bayern wanting him – you cannot let him go, he’s as important as any of them. Luis [Diaz], [Mohamed] Salah, any of them.’
Former Manchester United and Villa striker Dublin agreed, insisting that the winger’s output is ‘incredible’.
Mane has been part of a prolific strikeforce assembled by boss Jurgen Klopp at Anfield
Dublin added: ‘His numbers are incredible, only getting better. Klopp has managed that front four and five amazingly.
‘It suits him being up front (rather than left wing). He can put himself in goalscoring positions. Firmino, Jota, they’re great team-mates to have.’
Mane’s performances for Liverpool this season have been strong, particularly since the turn of the year.
He has scored 21 goals in all competitions, and recently has thrived in a central striking role, with new signing Luis Diaz excelling on the left.
Diaz’s January arrival was seen as a sign that the Reds were planning for life after Mane, and Liverpool have also secured the capture of exciting Fulham teenager Fabio Carvalho, a player who can play across the forward line.
The link to Bayern took Anfield officials completely by surprise. Mane has never given any indication that he is doing anything other than preparing for the five games that could yet see Liverpool complete a clean sweep of trophies.
Fellow strikers Mohamed Salah (centre) and Roberto Firmino are also out of contract in 2023
But the timing of this link emerging is significant, as Bayern have historically found themselves in the middle of big transfer stories in April or May which have come to fruition — such as when they signed Mats Hummels, Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski from German rivals Borussia Dortmund.
It has been a relatively underwhelming season for Bayern. Though they were crowned Bundesliga champions for a 10th year in succession, they were eliminated early from both the Champions League and the German Cup and recognise the need to improve their squad to be serious contenders again in Europe.
Liverpool and Bayern have not given any comment about the links but it is clear there is significant work to be done if Mane is going to remain at Anfield for the long term.
His fellow forwards Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino are both in similar contractual situations.
Klopp, who signed his own contract extension recently, views both Mane and Salah as key players for Liverpool’s future.
Jurgen Klopp (pictured) views both Mane and Salah as key players for Liverpool’s future
‘You have to ask the boys,’ Klopp replied when asked about their futures earlier this month.
‘If it’s (me signing a new deal) is a positive sign for the boys, great, but I don’t think it will be decisive.
‘That’s more of a question for the boys, to be honest. But it’s all fine, I really think they are both great. They have more things to think about than the management, but it’s an important thing.
‘I have a great relationship with both boys.’