Sadio Mane is in danger of sabotaging not only Southampton’s bank balance, but his own career ambitions with the recent slump in his performance levels.
The Saints winger was rumoured to be keen on moving to Manchester United in the January transfer window, with the Sun suggesting the Senegal international was eyeing a £125,000-a-week deal at Old Trafford.
At the height of the first wave of speculation, Southampton slapped a £30m price tag on his head, but are now reconciled to receiving far less when they cash in.
The devaluing factor has been Mane’s form, which has fallen off a cliff.
Since finding the net in a 1-1 draw in late October the 23-year-old, has failed to score in 18 successive Premier League appearances.
During the same period of time he has also singularly shrunk as a source of opportunities for teammates, registering just two assists across all competitions.
According to the Star, Saints boss Ronald Koeman has admitted the former Red Bull Salzburg trickster is suffering from a crisis of confidence.
Whatever the source of the Senegalese international’s issues, he risks sabotaging his move to United as well his current club’s hopes of cashing in on him.
Vast sums will made available to whoever ends up being tasked with leading the Reds into 2016/17 and Mane needs to be shining brightly to keep their attention.
Moreover, few places on earth are less hospitable to players lacking in confidence than Old Trafford.
Mane is just 5/2 to end his goal drought against Stoke, but is unlikely to find the Potters amenable.
Mark Hughes’ men have given up more than one goal in only two of their last ten outings and beat the Saints to nil on the south coast earlier this season.
Meanwhile, Southampton’s combined attacking resources haven’t mustered more than a solitary strike in their last seven matches.