Jamie O’Hara has been stunned by Liverpool’s transfer business, as they let Sadio Mane leave for Bayern Munich.
Speaking to Sky Sports News yesterday, the pundit said he couldn’t believe Liverpool had allowed Mane to go.
“I am amazed that they have allowed him to leave,” said O’Hara. “He is still an unbelievable player. He is still one of the best players in the world. I can’t believe they didn’t think about giving him the money that he deserves.
“When you are a top player and you are seeing players on £300k and £400k-a-week, even with those astronomical fees, Mane deserves to be on that money as well. If they aren’t going to pay him the money, then somebody else will. So, he needs to know his worth. Getting into his 30s, so it’s one more big contract for him.”
The former Tottenham midfielder claimed that had he been a Liverpool player right now, he would have been pleading with Mane to stay.
“I think it’s a massive loss for Liverpool, he is almost irreplaceable,” said O’Hara. “I know they have brought in Nunez, (but) I think it’s a mistake Liverpool have let him go. I would be saying ‘Mane we need you’. We have been so successful, missed out on the quad last season, but they have to go again.
“If I was Jordan Henderson, then I would have been desperate to keep him at the football club. But when a player has had his head turned, and he doesn’t feel his valued enough, then it’s hard to stop someone from leaving.”
The right time to go
From a footballing point of view, there are certainly reasons for letting Mane go right now. It might sound daft to say about a player who scored 23 non-penalty goals last season, but he has shown sharp signs of decline in the past two years.
At times, Liverpool’s attack looked predictable and a little stale when struggling to break down ‘low-block’ teams.
That isn’t to question Mane’s ability as a footballer, it’s just that sometimes, things need freshening up.
It’s credit to Mane that he too recognised the need for change. Instead of running down the last year of his deal and perhaps pocketing a big signing-on bonus as a result of a free transfer, he chose to seek a new challenge.
As painful as it is, it could well be the right move for everyone.
His departure will allow Luis Diaz further chance to shine, whilst also evolving Jurgen Klopp’s forward line for the next phase.
Timing can be everything in life, and in football. Had Mane waited another year, or even signed a new, bigger, contract, he could have risked becoming a shadow of the player he was and tarnishing his legacy at Liverpool.
As fans, we always want our best players to stay at our club forever. But there’s nothing worse for a player than outliving his usefulness.
Mane recognised that his work at Liverpool was done. Hopefully both he and the club he left can thrive as he moves onto pastures new.