Sadio Mané Joins Bayern Munich From Liverpool For Up To $41 Million

The transfer saga has finally come to its conclusion. On Friday, Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic confirmed to German media that the Rekordmeister had reached a deal with Liverpool to sign Sadio Mané. With personal terms already agree, the transfer is now just a formality.

Liverpool is set to receive an initial €32 million ($33 million) plus performance-based bonuses that could see the deal grow to just under €40 million ($41 million). After completing his medical, Mané is set to sign a multi-year contract at the Rekordmeister.

The deal itself is surprisingly low for a player with a market value of $77 million, according to Transfermarkt. Several factors, however, played a role in Bayern’s cut deal agreement with Liverpool. First, there is the fact that Mané would have been a free agent next summer. Second, the Senegalese winger only wanted to join Bayern, making it difficult for Liverpool to drive up the price.

Third, Liverpool has made a similar deal with Bayern in the past. Two summers ago, the Reds signed midfielder Thiago from the Rekordmeister in an initial deal worth $24.2 million—the deal also included performance-based add-ons. It was a goodwill agreement that also played a role in the Mané deal.

Hence, Liverpool’s position to never accept a lowball offer was mainly a negotiation strategy theatered through the English-based press. Both sides always knew that a deal would be reached at a price tag significantly under Mané’s market value.

Ultimately, getting Mané across the line is an important transfer milestone of Bayern’s summer transfer strategy. The 30-year-old Senegalese forward, who can play on both wings but also in the middle, is the big-name signing the club wanted to present to its fans.

With Mané done, expect some movement in the Robert Lewandowski saga as well. Barcelona passed a motion on Thursday night that will increase the club’s ability to sign the Polish forward—the Rekordmeister wants $52 million upfront for Lewandowski. Although Mané is not a like-for-like replacement for Lewandowski on the pitch, he is the sort of star the club needs off the pitch to compensate for their star striker’s departure.

On the pitch, Mané could mean some significant changes in the way Bayern Munich will attack. Whether it was Gerd Müller, Giovani Elber, Roy Makaay, Luca Toni, Miroslav Klose, Mario Gomez or Mario Mandzukic, the Rekordmeister always has played with a traditionl number 9 upfront.

Bayern still does want to sign a number 9 this summer. But that player might not necessarily be a big star signing—Bayern has had talks with Stuttgart’s Sasa Kalajdzic. Instead, the new number 9 could be a backup for a front-three that would not include a traditional target man.

Head coach Julian Nagelsmann has long toyed with the idea of playing a 4-3-3 or 3-4-3 formation in which three flexible attackers. That new system would see Kingsley Coman, Leroy Sané, Serge Gnabry (if he stays), and Mané rotate positions. It would be a significant step away from Bayern’s traditional attacking outlook, but Nagelsmann believes that it will make his side more flexible and successful.

Manuel Veth is the host of the Bundesliga Gegenpressing Podcast and the Area Manager USA at Transfermarkt. He has also been published in the Guardian, Newsweek, Howler, Pro Soccer USA, and several other outlets. Follow him on Twitter: @ManuelVeth

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