Liverpool have drastically overpaid to sign Sadio Mane from Southampton, according to the club's former midfielder Phil Thompson. The 24-year-old has joined on a five-year deal from St Mary's to become the club's third acquisition of the summer, and could go on to become the most expensive player in Liverpool history.
Sky Sports understand that Mane has moved to Anfield in a deal that could rise to £36m ($48.7m), a fee that would eclipse the £35m that saw Andy Carroll swap Newcastle United for Merseyside in January 2011. The deal coincides with the new £5.14bn Premier League television deal, which is expected to see transfer fees and wages skyrocket this summer.
The transfer window is yet to ignite due to the ongoing European Championship in France but this move is the highest profile of the summer thus far. Mane joins Loris Karius and Joel Matip in joining Liverpool ahead of the new campaign, but Thompson is concerned the club have paid over the odds for the forward.
"I think we've paid far too much for him," he told Sky Sports. "Perhaps it's because of the money coming into the Premier League. Just look at Crystal Palace reportedly making a £31m bid for Michy Batshuayi. It's the same with Manchester United stumping up £30m for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, a 27-year-old who doesn't score as much as Mane."
Nevertheless, Mane will offer an alternative focal point in the Liverpool attack, with Klopp often bemoaning the lack of pace in his front-line. Thompson expects Mane to give the club a threat on the counter-attack, something they lacked during swathes of last term.
"I see it as an absolutely pivotal signing, one that was needed as the other attacking midfielders are more technical players and don't really have the pace," he added. "Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino are all quite similar so I'm not surprised Klopp has looked to add something different – a player that gives them a threat on the counter-attack and also adds goals. Daniel Sturridge also seems to have lost his pace a bit, probably due to the amount of injuries, which we saw with Michael Owen, so there's only really Divock Origi who can stretch teams."