Sadio Mane is on the verge of sealing a move to Bayern Munich with the club preparing an improved offer in line with Liverpool’s £42.5m valuation.
A fresh round of discussions between all parties has been pencilled in for Friday with Hasan Salihamidzic, the sporting director of the German champions, determined to wrap up a deal for their priority target.
Bayern have been confident of landing the Senegal international having received a verbal commitment from him last month. They believed it enabled them to pull off a cut-price deal, especially considering the Darwin Nunez development.
The Bundesliga club also pointed to their ‘soft’ negotiations with Liverpool for Thiago, selling the midfielder for an initial £20m with a potential £5m in add-ons.
Their rebuffed opening proposals for Mane were similar – £25m and £23.5m with £6.5m in unlikely extras – despite his availability, explosiveness, and guaranteed decisiveness in the final third demanding a higher fee.
It has now dawned on Bayern that despite their strong hand and the fact Liverpool have already recruited a replacement in Nunez, they will need to submit a serious bid that matches the asking price.
The Anfield side want to recoup their £34m outlay on Mane when he joined from Southampton in the summer of 2016, plus a small profit.
Liverpool feel £42.5m is an overly reasonable figure for a Ballon d’Or candidate in the final year of his contract.
The club prides themselves on selling well but do not want to be an obstacle to players seeking a new challenge that have served them superbly.
Mane has been core to the club’s success over the past six seasons so will depart with their blessing and gratitude.
Liverpool have been conscious of needing to evolve without sentiment as a driving factor and have efficiently recalibrated their attack with the recruitment of Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Nunez.
Liverpool begin the 2022/23 Premier League campaign with a lunchtime trip to newly-promoted Fulham on Saturday August 6.
It will be the fourth season in a row in which Liverpool have started a new campaign against a Premier League newcomer.
But after then facing Crystal Palace, Jurgen Klopp’s side will take on Man Utd at Old Trafford on August 20.
September will feature away trips to both Everton and Chelsea in September and Liverpool will also face back-to-back clashes against Arsenal and champions Man City on October 8 and 15 respectively.
Liverpool’s final game before the season stops temporarily for the winter World Cup will be against Southampton at Anfield on November 12 before returning to action at Aston Villa on Boxing Day.
The Reds then host arch-rivals United on March 4, before tricky-looking clashes in consecutive weekends at City (April 1) and against Arsenal at Anfield (April 8), before finishing the season at Southampton.