Liverpool took the gloves off as they rejected ‘out of hand’ a second bid for Sadio Mane.
Bayern Munich submitted their follow up attempt to prise the Senegal striker away from Anfield on Monday evening with a formal offer of £23.5m, with additional add-ons of around £6.5m to take the total close to £30m.
But the Reds have dismissed the offer as a ‘joke’, pointing out that some of the bonuses included in the bid would be close to impossible to achieve.
Mane would have to become a triple Ballon d’Or winner and Bayern collect a hat trick of Bundesliga titles, along with European trophies, for the bonus payments to be activated.
And now the Liverpool board, led by new Sporting Director Julian Ward, have told Bayern not to bother returning unless they have an offer that meets their valuation of the star…which exceeds £40m.
Sources close to the club suggest senior officials are bemused by Bayern’s approach, given they want in excess of €50m for their star striker Robert Lewandowski who is three years older than Mane.
AFP via Getty Images)
The English club are playing hard ball over Mane, who has risen to genuine world class level during his six year spell at Anfield and become one of the mainstays of Jurgen Klopp’s team.
There are other clubs interested, including PSG and Barcelona, and they will simply refuse to come to the table to talk until their valuation is met.
Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has indicated to the German media he is ready to fly to England for one to one talks with Ward to thrash out a deal for Mane, who is the Munich club’s number one summer target.
But there is real anger within the Liverpool board over Bayern’s low-ball offer, and they are now determined to play hard ball in response.
Salihamidzic will be told in no uncertain terms he is not welcome while his club make such ‘insulting’ offers, and there would be absolutely no point in making the journey.
Liverpool are determined to get the maximum price for a player who has been placed in the top five in the world over the past three seasons.
They are in pursuit of Benfica striker Darwin Nunez, and could be forced to pay around £85m for the striker, and they are keen to raise the funds to get close to that figure.
Klopp sees 22 year old as his main priority of the summer, and it is clear he is ready to change around his forward line to accommodate Nunez, with Mane looking increasingly likely to depart.
Nunez CAN play on the left as a direct Mane replacement, but he is more comfortable with playing down the middle, which would allow Klopp to use Luis Diaz on the left, and refocus the Liverpool attack.
With Mo Salah misfiring at the end of the season, Klopp’s side struggled to score goals in the closing weeks of an historic campaign, and that was never more painfully apparent than in the Champions League final.
They produced 24 chances but couldn’t score despite dominating Real Madrid, and Nunez would provide another alternative with his obvious goalscoring prowess, after scoring 34 goals last season, including two against Liverpool in the Champions League.
Mane will be allowed to leave, but only if Bayern hit Liverpool’s bottom line figure, which would be around €50m, with add ons that are clearly achievable.