Sadio Mane replacements Liverpool could sign this summer

 

 Sadio Mane of Liverpool looks dejected following their sides defeat in the UEFA Champions League final match between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid at Stade de France on May 28, 2022 in Paris, France.

Sadio Mane might have played his last game for Liverpool.

The Senegal forward's time at Anfield looks set to end this summer, with Liverpool braced for a bid from Bayern Munich for the 30-year-old.

In some ways, it felt inevitable. The club’s legendary front three of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are all about to enter the final year of their current contracts, so if extensions are not agreed then this will be the Reds’ last opportunity to sell them for a fee (should they choose to).

But the Reds will seek a replacement for Mane, should he depart this summer and here are some of the players they could target.

The great thing about Liverpool’s forwards is that they can score plenty of goals when starting in wide areas, while also being versatile enough to play centrally. A player capable of this is Martin Terrier , a 25-year-old who plays for Rennes.

He is second in Europe’s big five leagues for goals scored when starting on the wing – a chart which Salah tops – and having also scored playing as a centre-forward, Terrier only has Kylian Mbappe ahead of him in the Ligue 1 Golden Boot race.

Oh, and the identity of the player who is most statistically similar to him, at least according to Statsbomb? Mane.


Christopher Nkunku, RB Leipzig

Speaking of players with similar numbers, because Mane has played both centrally and wide he has a list of 10 players for both positions, and Christopher Nkunku is the only man who appears on both.

The 24-year-old has been repeatedly linked with the Reds in the past too. While RB Leipzig are understandably looking for a big fee (reportedly in the region of £60million), Liverpool have a good relationship with them so they may be able to strike a deal.

Nkunku is having the season of his life. Only five players in the big leagues have more non-penalty goals in 2021/22 and just two have more assists. Like Mane he can play across the front line and his Champions League hat-trick against Manchester City will immediately endear him to Kopites.

 

Karl Toko-Ekambi, Lyon

Karl Toko-Ekambi is a player who has long appeared as a statistical match to both Mane and Salah. He turns 30 in September so would not represent a long-term replacement, but he could certainly work as a back up to Luis Diaz on the left of the attack.

The Cameroonian has hit double figures for league goals in four of the last five seasons and his dribbling ability is like that of the Liverpool number 10.

Mane has been in the Premier League’s top 10 players for carrying the ball into the penalty area in each of the last five seasons, and Toko-Ekambi has achieved that in his leagues in three of them.


Amine Gouiri, Nice

To score at least seven non-penalty goals while also providing at least seven assists is not too unusual. Twenty-nine players in Europe’s big five leagues have so far achieved this in 2021/22, and Amine Gouiri is one of them.

However, he’s one of only four who was also born in the year 2000 or later, which puts him in elite company with Erling Haaland, Vinicius Junior and Florian Wirtz. Last season, Gouiri and Jadon Sancho were the only 21 st century-born players to achieve the feat.

Primarily a central striker, the France under-21 international can also play on the left, and as he is in the top five percent of forwards for completing dribbles, he sounds like a suitable candidate to attempt the near-impossible task of replacing Mane.

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