Agent reveals why Sadio Mane signed for Liverpool
Sadio Mane decided to join Liverpool because he knew Jurgen Klopp could help him fulfil his huge potential, according to the player’s agent.
The Senegal international, who is the Reds’ top scorer with 11 goals this season, has proved a massive hit at Anfield since his £30million move from Southampton last summer.
Mane also attracted interest from Tottenham and Manchester United but Bjorn Bezemer says it was Klopp rather than the promise of extra cash that enabled Liverpool to secure his services.
“It was the same when he left Salzburg – we wanted to make the right step in the right club at that moment,” Bezemer told the Guardian.
“I knew Jurgen Klopp from Germany and thought that he could be the right coach to take him forward after Southampton. You never know what will happen so it can be a bit of guess work.
“We tried to find out about Liverpool before he committed himself to them and it is not only the coach, the whole club is top professional. I think it worked out pretty well.”
Mane, who spotted by scouts from the Génération Foot academy in Dakar, signed for French outfit Metz in 2011 before being snapped up by Red Bull Salzburg a year later.
After two successful years in Swiss football he moved to England when he joined Southampton for £12million in 2014. Bezemer says Mane’s career choices have always been taken with a view to how best he can become Africa’s best player.
“Sadio had offers from places like China and Russia,” he revealed. “We said ‘no, now is not the time to make just big money or sitting on a bench in a top club, we want to take a career step’, so he accepted the offer for less money from Southampton because we felt this was the right move at that stage.
“I had a few conversations with the manager and director of football there and they gave us a good feeling. Sadio trusted in the right people and in the end it paid off.
“Our plan for Sadio has always been to make him Africa’s best player. The most important thing was to manage him to take the right decision. It’s easy to make a fast deal but we prefer to have a long-term relationship with all of our players.”
Bezemer was there to help lift Mane’s spirits after he missed the decisive spot-kick in Senegal’s Africa Cup of Nations exit at the hands of Cameroon last month.
“We went straight away to his house in Liverpool so when he returned we were there already,” he added.
“Sadio was still quite upset when he got back because he feels a responsibility for his country but we tried to explain that these things happen in football and you can recover from them quickly.
“Maybe it helped that the Chelsea match was the next day and Liverpool needed him. The most important thing for me was that he wasn’t sat at home alone just staring at the walls.”
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