Sadio Mané completed a GBP£34m move from Southampton to Liverpool on Tuesday, becoming the most expensive African football player in history.
The Senegal international is also the Merseysiders’ third most expensive signing, behind fellow forwards Christian Benteke and Andy Carroll, and will join the club in an exciting period as Jürgen Klopp prepares for his first full season in charge.
‘Today is a big day and I am very happy to sign for one of the biggest clubs in Europe,’ said Mané.
Mané’s rise to prominence has been a rapid one.
‘It’s a club that has won a lot of trophies and has a big history.
‘Now I am looking forward to meeting all the staff and my teammates and starting the season.’
Mané’s rise to prominence has been a rapid one since he joined Southampton from Red Bull Salzburg in September 2014, with his raw pace and flamboyant dribbling style immediately posing a threat to opposition defenders in the Premier League.
He scored 25 goals in his two seasons at St Mary’s and quickly made a name for himself as a fans’ favourite on the south coast.
His hat-trick against Aston Villa in May 2015 broke former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler’s record as the fastest treble in Premier League history and Mané later described the achievement as his ‘best moment in football’.
Nobody believed that I would be footballer.
But it has not all been plain sailing for the 24-year-old. Born in Sédhiou, Senegal, Mané was brought up in an environment where religion took precedence over football.
‘Nobody believed that I would be footballer, because it was not a passion for them – just only me in my life,’ Mané said last year.
‘Sometimes I didn’t go to school. I would run away to go to play [football] with my friend in the road.
‘When I was young, I only watched the Premier League on TV. Only the Premier League. It was a big dream for me.’
Mané’s big break came when he was 15 after he and his uncle persuaded his family to allow him to move to Dakar to play for the Senegalese Football Academy to try and catch the attention of scouts from across Europe.
With his family’s eventual blessing, Mané was determined to grab his opportunity with two hands and was picked up by Metz in 2011.
Despite scoring just two goals for the French club, scouts from Red Bull Salzburg had seen enough to pay 2-million euros to bring him to Austria.
It was here where Mané started to fulfil his true potential. He found the net 16 times in his first season in the Austrian Bundesliga and backed that up with a further 13 in the following campaign.
By then, talk of a switch to the Premier League was rife and Southampton eventually made their move under Ronald Koeman in 2014 by landing him on a four-year deal for around £11.8m.
Koeman regularly used Mané on either wing for Southampton to great effect, as he provided the perfect foil for lone strikers Graziano Pelle or Shane Long with his burning speed and trickery, and Klopp may adopt the same approach when the new season begins.
But Mané has also shown he is capable of playing as an out-and-out striker.
The German manager is a big fan of having versatile attackers and in Mané he has the option of deploying his pace from both flanks to complement a centre-forward.
But Mané has also shown he is capable of playing as an out-and-out striker and it will be interesting to see whether he can challenge Daniel Sturridge in that role next season.
‘I knew Liverpool were interested in me, I had some [other] opportunities,’ Mané added.
‘But I think for me this is the right club, the right coach and the right moment to change.
‘Klopp said he wanted me to come to play for Liverpool. I didn’t even have to ask myself, I said straight away “yes, I am interested” because I know Liverpool.
‘I am convinced Liverpool is the right club for me with the right coach.’