Liverpool and Southampton have agreed a fee of £34m for Sadio Mane, with the Senegalese forward reportedly having a medical at Melwood today.
Potentially rising to £36m, the deal means Mane will rival Andy Carroll as the Anfield club’s most expensive signing of all time.
Such a substantial outlay would seemingly guarantee the new man will start the majority of games for his new employers, but that’s unlikely to be the case.
A right-sided offensive berth looks the most likely station for the 24-year-old on Jurgen Klopp’s teamsheet and was his most prolific role at St Mary’s last term.
Mane registered five goals and three assists in ten starts at right midfield or right-attacking midfield for the south coast club in 2015/16, according to whoscored.com.
Those numbers paint him as a more dangerous proposition than Adam Lallana (one strike and four set ups in 19 right-sided starts) or Sheyi Ojo (zero netted and three created in the four he began a match on the disputed flank).
Despite this, the new signing may have to suck up sitting out matches on the regular if Klopp’s penchant for switching between formations continues.
The final ten games of last season saw the demonstrative German employ no fewer than five different setups, with as many different squad members used in the most advanced right-sided position.
Lallana started five of those fixtures and Ojo three, while James Milner and Jordan Ibe got the nod in one each.
The Liverpool boss’ clear tendency for tactical tinkering and the selection of personnel with different skill sets for specific briefs suggests means that Mane can expect to be interchanged with the former, in particular, next term.
Anfield’s finest are 8/5 sixth-favourites for a top-four finish in the Premier League in 2016/17 and 8/1 joint-fifth in the pecking order when it comes to the title-winner market.