In Dylan Gerstley’s debut article he takes a look at how Sadio Mané compares to Jürgen Klopp’s typical transfer targets.
The recent acquisition of Sadio Mané from Southampton has most every Liverpool fan giddy with anticipation at the thought of the coming season’s attack.
Manager Jurgen Klopp has already made three other signings including center back Joel Matip, midfielder Marko Grujic, and goalkeeper Loris Karius.
Matip joined on a Bosman deal from FC Schalke while Serbian starlet Grujic joined for around £5 million from Red Star Belgrade. Karius also joined for around £5 million from Klopp’s former club Mainz.
These three signings are much more in line with Klopp’s transfer history. Borussia Dortmund were in financial straits when Klopp took over and his transfers were restricted as such. It did not stop the big German from building a side that would go on to dominate Germany and Europe from 2010 to 2013.
Some of the best deals Klopp made were around and under the £5 million mark, just like Karius and Grujic.
Shinji Kagawa was signed for €350,000, Mats Hummels was rejected by Bayern Munich before signing for £3 million, and midfield dynamo Ilkay Gundogan was signed from second tier club Nuremberg for around £4 million. Polish striker Robert Lewandowski also arrived in Dortmund after a fee of £3 million.
All of these players would go on to be key cogs in Klopp’s well oiled gegenpressing machine that would win back to back league titles in 2011 and 2012 as well as making a Champions League final appearance in 2013.
While the excitement for Mane is understandable, the Senegalese star came from nowhere near the bargain bin. An exorbitant, though understandable with all of the Premier League inflation, £30 million fee has made the midfielder Klopp’s most expensive signing ever.
Klopp’s ability to get the best out of his players was seen in many instances last season. Brendan Rodgers’ £25 million man Adam Lallana was influential in the German’s system, proving his ability as well as his transfer fee. Roberto Firmino was another big money Rodgers signing that came good under Klopp, though he had hardly anytime to impress under Rodgers.
These two players share more than just similarly large transfer fees, as both Lallana and Firmino can play across the attack. Lallana lacked end product but Firmino finished off the season with an impressive 10 goals and 7 assists in the Premier League.
Even at Dortmund, Klopp was not only able to craft his players into world class winners but also command the respect of the big names. Mario Gotze was the biggest prospect in German football but Klopp was still able to get him to perform even amongst all the pressure.
Marco Reus, a £14 million signing, was brought back to Dortmund after red hot form at Monchengladbach and again, Klopp was able to maintain and nurture his talent as Germany’s best wide player and amongst the most skilled in the world.
Sadio Mané may have been a bit of a splurge, but Klopp has proven over his career that he spends with intent. Liverpool have a larger transfer kitty than any of the other clubs Klopp has managed but if the German is a fan of the former Southampton man and thinks he can make a difference to the team, then it will have been worth it for Liverpool to splash the cash.
Mané already has Premier League experience and a big game appetite that Klopp will love, and if his signing on comments are anything to go by, then the Senegalese star is excited to begin under Klopp.
Klopp has a history of shrewd transfers and a massive £30 million fee does not change or nullify his track record. Klopp has shown that his managerial styles work with the very best as evidenced by Gotze and Reus. Mané is no different, and now that he is playing under Klopp at Liverpool, he will have all the tools needed to bring success for himself and the club.