Liverpool have stepped up interest in Southampton forward Sadio Mane and are set to make him their second transfer of the summer. Reds manager Jurgen Klopp wants to add more pace up front and Mane has been earmarked as the man to lead the Merseyside club to greater heights next season.
The Daily Mail reports that Mane could be available for a fee in the range of £25m ($36m) following the departure of Southampton manager Ronald Koeman to Everton. The Senegalese international could join a long list of players who have moved from St Mary's to Anfield under Brendan Rodgers but will be the first under Klopp, who finished last season in eighth spot, two positions behind Southampton.
Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Nathaniel Clyne have all made the switch but Mane could be more influential than all of them especially with Daniel Sturridge struggling with injury and Christian Benteke out of favour with Klopp. The forward has scored 25 goals in 75 appearances for the Saints, including a hattrick against the Merseyside club last season.
Meanwhile, Mane is also being heavily scouted by Manchester United, who under Jose Mourinho are in for some major investment this transfer window. They have already completed the signing of Villareal defender Eric Bailly and are also negotiating a one year deal with PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose contract with the cash-rich French club expires this summer.
The Reds have also completed the signing of Mainz keeper Loris Karius as understudy to Simon Mignolet but need more if they have to pose a relevant challenge next season for a place in the top four. However, the Merseyside club may be hampered in their transfer activity by their inability to offer European football to potential recruits. Southampton, on the other hand, have qualified for the Europa League courtesy their sixth place finish in the league.