Former Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has been trying too hard to stand out since arriving at Bayern Munich last summer.
The Reds legend made an emotional exit from Anfield at the end of last season. But since joining the perennial German champions it hasn’t all been smooth-sailing.
11 goals in 31 games isn’t a terrible record. Without a goal since October though, questions are starting to be asked of Mane. In a report today, The Athletic attempt to answer just why the Senegal legend has failed to live up to expectations in Bavaria.
Several factors are mentioned, including acclimatising to different formations, as well as a change in the leadership styles of the now sacked Julian Nagelsmann and Jurgen Klopp.
Those are undoubtedly contributing factors. But ‘close observers’ of Mane think they’ve picked up on something more important. They suggest that the 31-year-old is simply ‘trying too hard to do something special’ every time he’s on the pitch. This is leading to an unnatural style which is seemingly accentuating poor displays.
Time not on Mane’s side
In hindsight, perhaps Mane would have been better off staying at Liverpool after all. It was always going to be difficult for the Senegalese to hit the ground running at a new club having suffered through a mammoth last season at Anfield.
The Reds were seemingly keen to tie him down to a new deal and he could have eased in the transition of any further new signings. Just as Mohamed Salah looks set to do, he could have left an icon rather than a mere legend.
Of course, you can’t begrudge him the move and nobody at Liverpool did. He walked out the front door of the AXA with the best wishes of all connected to the club.
But as others before Sadio have found out, Liverpool is a special club to play for under Jurgen Klopp. Not many have left and found their form and status to have improved. Unfortunately Mane looks set to join the list containing the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Emre Can and Gini Wijnaldum.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. There’s still chance for Mane to turn things around at Bayern. But having turned thirty-one yesterday, he doesn’t exactly have time on his side.
The German giants aren’t the kind of club who will give him chance after chance to prove himself. Having already lost his spot in the team following injury, Sadio will have to work hard to get in the good books of new boss Thomas Tuchel. In his peak, that wouldn’t have been a problem for Mane. Sadly though, he now looks like a fading force. Then again, he does face Manchester City tonight. We all know how much he loves the sight of Sky Blue…