Southampton manager Ronald Koeman admits the club will find it difficult to hold on to Sadio Mane should he continue to perform at his current level. Mane, 23, was heavily linked with a move to Manchester United following the club's failure to sign Pedro from Barcelona in August, but the Saints remained adamant the player would not be sold during the summer transfer window.
The Senegal international has since enjoyed a sublime start to the season, scoring four goals and assisting another four, much to the delight of Koeman, who fought to keep him at the club in the summer. But the Dutchman is wary his outfit will eventually lose the forward if he continues on his current trajectory.
"Maybe one day we lose Mane, but then we have to be prepared," Koeman was quoted as saying by the Daily Echo, speaking after the 3-1 victory over Chelsea. "You know in our situation those kind of players, if they play like today, there will be a lot of interest in the end of the season, but now we enjoy watching Mane in our team."
Sky Sports claimed in August United had submitted a bid for Mane in the final week of the transfer window. However, having already concluded their business for the summer, Southampton refused to listen to any more bids for their players.
"Listen, there is no bid for any player," Koeman said, according to The Evening Standard. "Not for [Victor] Wanyama, not for Sadio, not anyone. We have to deal with rumours of the press and maybe somebody from Manchester – I don't know.
"There is no contact and no bid for nobody and we don't sell any more players. That is very clear in my opinion. I don't like [these rumours] because maybe players are thinking and they are not then focused on what they have to do."