In a week where Britain’s travails in the Euro zone on and off the pitch have overshadowed pretty much everything, it is understandable that Sadio Mané’s transfer from Southampton to Liverpool has gone under the radar. The Senegalese attacker has reportedly cost Liverpool between 30 million to 36 million pounds.
His purchase is consistent with Liverpool’s tradition of buying someone who scored well against them in the previous season for a sum upwards of 30 million pounds. Andy Carroll and Christian Benteke being the other two examples. Liverpool fans certainly will be hoping that Sadio Mané’s Liverpool career has a different trajectory than Carroll and Benteke.
When you look at Mané’s stats, it does seem that the club will be third time lucky. Here are some reasons for Liverpool fans to be optimistic:
Games Missed Due to Injury
Prior to joining Liverpool, Carroll had missed 13 games in 2 seasons for Newcastle United due to injury, while Benteke had missed 18 games in 2 seasons for Aston Villa. However, Sadio Mané only missed 6 games in 4 seasons for Red Bull Salzburg and Southampton combined. Considering only Premier League experience, Mané has missed 5 games in 2 seasons for Southampton.
Goal Scoring Record for the Immediately Previous Team:
The decision to buy a forward, obviously depends significantly on the goal scoring record the player has demonstrated for their immediately previous team. Andy Carroll scored 33 goals in 28 of his 90 games for The Toons, nine of which were game winning goals. He won 14 games in which he scored for Newcastle. Benteke however, scored 49 goals in 38 of his 101 games for Villa, eleven of which were game winning goals. Villa won 22 games when Benteke scored. Mané has scored 25 goals in only 19 of his 75 games for Southampton. But eight of those have been game winning goals. He won 14 of those 19 games.
Due to the higher percentage of wins (when he scores), Mané’s points per game is 2.37, which betters both Benteke (1.92) and Carroll (1.79).
When Liverpool purchased Carroll, the probability of Newcastle winning a game when he scored was 50%, for Benteke at Villa that probability was 58%, but for Mané at Southampton it was 74%.
Although Sadio Mané is primarily a winger and Benteke as well as Carroll are target men; assisting is an important aspect of their play – for Mané through his crosses and passes, while for the other two as knockdowns.
In terms of assists per season, Carroll contributed 21 assists for Newcastle in the 3.5 seasons prior to his move to Liverpool, followed by Mané who provided 14 assists for Southampton in 2 seasons prior to his move. Benteke is the worst of the three, with 13 assists for Villa in 3 seasons prior to his move.
In summary, it can be said that Mané does seem to be at least a marginally better purchase than both Carroll and Benteke were, especially considering the style of play employed by Jurgen Klopp, where Mané’s game on the left wing will be highly valuable. Here’s hoping for all Liverpool fans that their club is third time lucky with a purchase of a Premier League attacker for over 30 million pounds.
(All statistics and data points sourced from www.transfermarkt.com)