With Manchester United’s Pedro plan A now residing in an Old Trafford waste paper basket, the Red Devils have redrafted their transfer blueprint.
As a result of this revision, Louis van Gaal is probably going to miss Chelsea’s welcoming of the Barcelona lifer as he barters with Southampton over Sadio Mane.
The Senegalese winger is believed to be Man Utd’s top target as they attempt to beef up a lightweight frontline that has found the net just twice in the Premier League so far.
It’s thought the side rated 11/2 to take the richest prize in English football have already had a bid knocked back for the former Salzburg star, with the Saints holding out for the stock £25m they demand for all valued assets.
Signed for £10m just over a year ago, this would represent yet another substantial profit for Ronald Koeman’s outfit, but United must resist lining their pockets for the second time this summer.
Morgan Schneiderlin made the switch from St Mary’s to the Theatre of Dreams this summer in a £25m deal, following precocious full-back Luke Shaw who cost £30m 12 months earlier.
Unlike with these two, the grounds upon which Southampton are demanding such an exorbitant sum for Mane are not obvious to fathom.
Aside from recording the Premier League’s fastest ever hat-trick, Mane’s maiden campaign in the English game can hardly be considered spectacular; in 30 appearances he scored ten and assisted three.
It’s a fairly modest return for such a pricey player, especially when Pedro, a world-class practitioner who has had more gold hung around his neck than Bobby George, is going to cost Chelsea £4m less.
But this isn’t the only reason why United must steer clear of Mane.
Those Southampton players Premier League fat cats have deemed worthy of eight-figure investment in the past need to have been established members of the St Mary’s furniture to turn out worth the money.
Schneiderlin has slotted directly into the United midfield, already ahead of World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger in the pecking order, while Shaw has started the campaign as first-choice left-back.
The latter’s first year at United wasn’t his best, but his enormous price tag is best around equally sizeable potential, the same of which can be said about Arsenal’s £16m signing Calum Chambers.
Liverpool love to shop at Southampton too, with £12m-buy Nathaniel Clyne making a sure-footed start to his Anfield career at right-back.
Adam Lallana, a £25m acquisition, hasn’t yet produced his best on Merseyside, but five strikes and three assists during an injury-hit debut season is a respectable haul.
All of the above were staples in the Southampton side, having featured regularly across multiple campaigns at St Mary’s.
Dejan Lovren is the only other player they’ve received an eight-figure number for and having spent just one year on the south coast prior to leaving, he wasn’t a seasoned Saint.
Of all of those in the bracket, the Croatian is the only one universally-recognised to have bombed following his big-club switch.
With a solitary Southampton season on his CV, Mane is in the same category as the much-maligned Croat and a relatively mediocre first term in the Premier League suggests he’d struggle to have the desired impact at United.