28 Jun 2016

Transfer Agreed: Liverpool to sign 'fantastic' attacker for £34m; Medical passed; announcement today

England are out of Euro 2016, and it's a massive surprise to see such a talented, exciting team suffer the ignominy of yet another early exit from a major international tournament...said no one, ever. After a performance of such embarrassing ineptitude and creative decrepitude, England deserve to be out, and--Oh, wait, sorry - wrong article! My bad (!) I'll start again:

After weeks of speculation, Liverpool are on the verge of signing 'fantastic' Southampton attacker Sadio Mane. According to the BBC:

* Liverpool have agreed a £34m transfer fee for Sadio Mane, which could rise to £36m.

* Man passed a medical on Monday, and the deal is expected to be announced on Tuesday.

Holy rip-off, Batman! Mane is a good Premier League player, but £36m? It's daylight robbery, and proof (IMO) that Jurgen Klopp (and FSG) have learned nothing from the club's profligate transfer spending over the last three years.

* By any comparative/statistical measure, Mane is not worth £34m+.

* As with Carroll, Lallana, Benteke, Lovren, and countless others, Liverpool are overpaying again, and in a year with no European football, it's arguably irresponsible to take yet another massive financial risk.

* As an added bonus, Mane will - unless he's injured - take part in the African Cup of Nations in January/Feb 2017, which means he'll be missing for a month during a crucial part of the season. Superb transfer planning.

For me, the most concerning issue is Liverpool's continued (and counter-productive) financing of Southampton's rise up the table.

* 2013-14: Liverpool finish second in the league, and sign Lambert, Lallana, and Lovren (Combined cost: £50m). Southampton finish 8th on 56 points.

* 2014-15: Despite signing the Saints' best performing players, Liverpool regress to 6th in the league on 62 points. Southampton, meanwhile, improve on the previous season, and finish 7th, just two points behind the Reds.

* 2015-16: Southampton finish 6th (three points and two places above Liverpool), and qualify for Europe.

In the space of two years, Liverpool have basically bankrolled Southampton's resurgence, and engaged in a regression-inducing act of self-sabotage. Handing the Saints another another huge chunk of cash will just make it easier for their new manager to solidify the Saints' position in the top six (probably at LFC's expense).

Many fans (myself included) expected Southampton to crash and burn after losing Lovren, Lallana, and Lambert, who were inarguably their three best players at the time. Unfortunately, the opposite happened, and if the Saints get a half-decent manager this summer, History may repeat itself.

Purely in football terms, Mane is a good signing; he has pace, power, and one crucial quality missing from Adam Lallana's limited repertoire: end product.

Unfortunately, £34m-£36m is just too expensive, and Mane will now arrive at Anfield with the added burden of a massive price tag hanging over his head (which he'll never be able to live up to).

£34m+ for Higuain? Yes please. £30m+ for Marco Reus? Bring it on. £36m for Mane? You're having a laugh, especially when Man United are on the verge of signing Mkhitaryan for just £26m.


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