Manchester United are considering a move in signing Southampton star Sadio Mane in the January transfer window to boost their attacking options for the second half of the 2015/16 season. The winger has scored five goals and registered four assists in all competitions for the Saints this term.
Louis van Gaal was interested in securing the Senegalese forward's services in the summer, but the deal did not take shape. The Daily Mail reported that Red Devils will make another approach for him at the turn of the New Year.
The 23-year-old joined the south coast club from Red Bull Salzburg in 2014 on a four-year deal. Ronald Koeman wants the forward to sign a new contract and put an end to the recent speculations surrounding his player's future.
However, Mane is not willing to commit to his current employers as he is aware of the growing interest from other Premier League clubs for his signature. Apart from United, rivals Chelsea are also believed to be interested in signing him in January, according to the Mirror.
United were willing to pay a fee of around £20m ($30.2m) for the Saints forward in August. Southampton are adamant their star man will not leave St Mary's Stadium in the mid-season transfer window, but their chances of retaining him beyond this campaign remains slim if he fails to sign an extension before next summer.
A £40m bid from United would convince Southampton to let Mane leave in January. However, it is unlikely that the Red Devils will be open to meeting the Premier League club's asking price. Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger is aware that his side will have an uphill task in retaining Mane.
"I believe that things are going to happen for a reason and at the moment [Mane] is very, very strong for us and the goal over time is this is the final destination. Maybe it isn't yet for players, but we're moving towards that," Krueger said during the Leaders Sport Business Summit in October.
Southampton are looking to sanction Mane's sale after the end of the season if he decides against committing his long-term future to the club. The Saints will sell the forward to the highest bidder next summer, which could spark a bidding war between United and Chelsea.
Van Gaal's side have long been interested in signing Mane. Their hope of landing him in January looks difficult and have to wait until the end of the ongoing campaign in order to bring the African attacker to Old Trafford.