The 29-year-old Senegal forward, fresh from his country’s first ever African Cup of Nations title win where he also picked up the award for the tournament’s best player, is out of a contract at Liverpool next season when he turns 30.
Reports have been making the rounds of the club considering his renewal but the signing of Colombian left-winger Luis Diaz from FC Porto in Portugal for €47 million put Mane’s contract renewal in doubt.
Jürgen Klopp is also reported to be preparing to move away from the era of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah and the club’s business in the transfer windows suggest that this is true.
However, Klopp’s recent comments seem to suggest that the club is going to prioritise negotiations with the AfCON champion over a potential extension in the coming months, despite the forward pushing 30.
Clubs think differently about older players nowadays, Klopp says
Mane, who turns 30 in April, is still at the top of his game despite being at the age when many expect his performances to begin to dip.
He is one of a new generation of older players who are defying the odds and giving the youngster’s a run for their money.
In fact, a large percentage of the world’s best players are well over 30 and Klopp admitted that this reasoning is behind the club deciding to prioritise the extension of Mane’s Liverpool contract.
“It is difficult to improve on the level that Sadio is already at,” Klopp explained. “Lewandowski was born in 1988. So he is 33. Then there’s Messi at 34 and Ronaldo at 37.
“The massive advantage of being in your early-30s and mid-30s is that as a player you can see things in the right way if you have learned throughout your career.
“Sadio can use that and become an even better player than he was two or three years before.
“Clubs think differently. They look at a player aged 32, 33 and think, ‘We can’t sell him anymore’. But if they are already inside the club then that’s outstanding because they already have experience and desire and quality.”
Liverpool preparing offer for Firmino while scouting “next Luis Suarez”
Mane’s striker partner, Roberto Firmino is also being considered for an extension according to Football Insider.
The report claims that Klopp believes that the 30-year-old Brazilian, who turns 31 in October, still has a huge role to play in the club.
However, the club is still going on with their plans for the post Mane-Firmino-Salah era with their latest scouting efforts according to reports.
19-year-old Matías Arezo, dubbed “the next Luis Suarez” in Uruguay, is on the Reds’ transfer radar. The forward completed a deadline day move to Granada CF in the January transfer window after scoring an impressive 37 goals and providing 14 assists for River Plate Montevideo in 97 appearances.
Liverpool plans to scout him further at Granada in order to make a decision on whether to go for him next season.