Following a season in which Sadio Mane had bagged 11 goals and registered seven assists over 37 Premier League appearances, it was no surprise that Tottenham Hotspur were reported to be interested in a deal to sign the Southampton winger in the summer of 2016.
Indeed, Spurs came so close to landing the Senegal international that it was claimed the winger had visited the club’s training ground in order to discuss the terms of a switch to Mauricio Pochettino’s side, however, the Argentine coach was ultimately unable to convince Daniel Levy to meet forward’s wage demands.
As a result, Liverpool swooped in for the attacker, landing Mane in a £34m deal and handing the then-24-year-old a five-year-contract at Anfield – from which point the former RB Salzburg sensation has blossomed into one of the finest footballers on the planet.
Was failing to sign Mane Levy’s biggest mistake at Spurs?
Levy had a shocker on Mane
Indeed, following his 2016 move to Merseyside, Mane has gone from strength to strength under the management of Jurgen Klopp, scoring 86 goals and registering 34 assists over his 188 Premier League appearances for the Reds – including an extremely impressive haul of 18 goals and nine assists over 35 matches in the club’s 2019/20 title-winning campaign.
The £72m-rated dynamo has also impressed for Liverpool in European competition, bagging 21 goals and notching seven assists over 50 Champions League outings – including four goals and three assists over 13 fixtures in 2018/19, when the Reds lifted Europe’s most prestigious club prize after beating – incredibly ironically – Spurs 2-0 in the final.
Aside from boasting both a Premier League and Champions League winners medal, the winger has also won the FIFA Club World Cup, the UEFA Supercup and the Carabao Cup during his stay at Liverpool, in addition to lifting the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal.
And, as a result of his remarkable form both at Anfield and at international level, the £200k-per-week Mane has been linked with moves to the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona in recent seasons, however, with Liverpool having previously slapped a £200m price tag on the 29-year-old, whether or not either of the Spanish giants will be able to afford a move for the winger remains to be seen.
What is clear, however, is that Levy’s decision not to sanction a 2016 move for the player who Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang dubbed a “wild animal” has proven to be a shocker on the part of the chairman, as, in doing so, not only did he ensure that Tottenham failed to secure the services of one of the world’s best attacking talents, but he also cost the club a potentially enormous payday – something that will undoubtedly be one of Levy’s biggest regrets during his time in north London.