Sadio Mane: Why are Man Utd interested in the Southampton winger?

The Saints winger has been the subject of a bid from Louis van Gaal, who has missed out on a handful of transfer targets already so far this summer


Manchester United have made their move for Southampton wide man Sadio Mane – news that emerged after Chelsea stole in to sign Pedro move to Chelsea – as Louis van Gaal aims to strengthen his squad before the transfer window closes.

Van Gaal is in the market for another wide player, like Pedro and Memphis Depay, who can contribute to the goals tally from the wing. Mane fits the bill having scored 10 in 30 appearances (24 starts) last season.

In the two games Southampton have played so far this season, however, Mane (No.10) has been deployed largely in a more central position behind striker Graziano Pelle, partly due to the recovery from injury of Jay Rodriguez. The 23-year-old would give Van Gaal the option of offering struggling lone striker Wayne Rooney support in the penalty area, or could also allow for an interchanging attacking trio deployed behind the United captain.

United’s need for more firepower was well documented last season, and only Rooney (12) scored more goals than Mane (10) in the Premier League in 2014-15, having played more games. Robin van Persie was the only other player to reach double figures for Van Gaal’s side during that campaign, and he has since departed for Turkey.

Mane also proved important to Southampton’s cause last season as they ran out of steam in a shock push for a top four finish. Only Graziano Pelle (12 goals, two assists) contributed to more goals than the Senegal international over the last campaign (10 goals, three assists).

The 23-year-old also recorded the fastest hat-trick in Premier League history last season, scoring three times in just two minutes and 56 seconds against Aston Villa in May.

Should United complete the signing of Mane, there is still work to be done. Southampton have struggled in this fledgling season so far and the former Red Bull Salzburg man has thus far been unable to dig them out of a hole, hitting the target with just two shots in two games and failing to record a goal or an assist.