Name: Sadio Mané
Height: 5ft 9′
Current club: Liverpool
Former clubs: Académie Génération Foot, Metz, Red Bull Salzburg and Southampton.
Nationality: Senegalese (10 goals in 36 caps).
Liverpool’s new signing has got off to a flying start this season and looks like he could end up being one of the buy’s of the summer. In this article AFEfootballnews focuses on Sadio Mané’s career and how he came to be one of the most recognised players in the Premier League today.
Mané was born in Sedhiou, Senegal on the 10th of April, 1992. He began his journey at Académie Génération Foot in his home nation and was quickly tipped to become a star from a very young age.
French club Metz eventually signed him up, made his professional debut on the 14th of January 2012, coming on as a substitute in a 1-0 home defeat to Bastia in Ligue 2 and finished the 2011-12 season with 2 goals in 22 appearances as Metz endured a tough season that saw them relegated to the third tier of French football. It’s fair to say that the winger wasn’t a true stand out performer at this stage of his career but greater things were on the horizon for the youngster.
In August of 2012, he joined Salzburg in a fee believed to be worth around £4 million and it wasn’t long before he began to show his true potential. He scored his first hat-trick for the club on the 31st of October, 2012, in a 3–1 away win at Kalsdorf in the third round of the Austrian Cup. The following season in October, he bagged his first hat-trick in the Austrian Bundesliga in a 3-0 away win at Grodig and then scored another treble on the 7th of May, 2014 as Salzburg won 7–0 at Horn in the cup semi-finals. The club enjoyed a successful season that year, winning the domestic double and clubs all over Europe were beginning to cast their eyes over Mané.
And sure enough on September the 1st, 2014, Mané made his move to England, joining Premier League side Southampton on a four year deal, with the transfer sum believed to be worth around £11.8 million. He made a great start to life at St. Mary’s, making his debut in a 2-1 League Cup win over Arsenal, winning a penalty for his side’s opener. He then made his league debut for the Saints’ four days later in a 2-1 victory over QPR, assisting a goal for Ryan Bertrand.
In October, he scored his first official goal for the club in a 1-0 win over Stoke (he was believed to have scored the week prior to this in an 8-0 win over Sunderland but the goal was recorded as an own goal). In December and January he scored in three vital successive matches, against Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Arsenal. Mané then scored two late second half winning goals in 1–0 league victories at QPR on the 7th of February 2015 and at home to Palace on the 3rd of March 2015 respectively. However, he later cause controversy, being dropped from Southampton’s starting line-up for their 0–2 home defeat to Liverpool on the 22nd of February 2015 as a punishment for being late to the stadium. Mané actually holds the record for the fastest Premier League hat-trick ever. On the 16th of May 2015, during Southampton’s final home match of the season, he scored three times in 2 minutes 56 seconds in a 6–1 win over Aston Villa. The record had previously been held since 1994 by Robbie Fowler, who scored three against Arsenal in 4 minutes and 33 seconds. Mané finished the season with 10 goals from 32 appearances in all competitions.
In the 2015-16 season, he began the season in impressive form once more, assisting two goals in in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round first leg match with Vitesse at home and scoring in the return leg, as Southampton eased through to the next round 5–0 on aggregate.On the 2nd of January 2016, he was the subject of controversy once again as he was dropped from the starting line-up by manager Ronald Koeman for a match at Norwich City when he turned up late for a pre-match meeting.Having failed to score in the league for over four months, Mané scored twice in a 3–2 victory over Liverpool on the 20th of March 2016,followed by five goals in the next five matches, including a hat-trick in a 4–2 victory against Man City on the 1st of May. He finished the season as Southampton’s top scorer, with 15 goals in all competitions.
His incredible form in the league did not go unnoticed and on the 28th of June 2016, Mané joined Liverpool in a five year deal worth £34 million in transfer fees, making him the most expensive African footballer of all time.On the 14th of August, he made his league debut for the Reds, scoring in a 4–3 away win against Arsenal, before then picking up a shoulder injury in training which would see him miss the next two games. His return to action saw him score again in a 4-1 win over champions Leicester.
Internationally Mané plays for Senegal and earned his first cap in 2012, before scoring his first goal for his nation in June of that year against Liberia in a 2014 World Cup qualification match. He was also part of the Senegalese team at the 2012 Olympic tournament, and started every match as they advanced through runners up in Group A, behind Great Britain, before losing 4–2 after extra time in the quarter-finals to eventual champions Mexico.
With his electric pace along with a tendency to create chances for his team mates and an avid eye for goal, there’s no doubting that Mané could be one of the stars of this season once again. Fans of Liverpool will be looking forward to seeing whether or not the winger can live up to his price tag and if his current form is anything to go by, then it looks as though he may just repay it sooner rather than later.