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Sadio Mane was ‘really, really close’ to joining Man United

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Liverpool star Sadio Mane revealed just how close he came to ending up at Manchester United instead three years ago.

Upon completing a €41m transfer from Southampton in 2016, Mane has become an invaluable part of the Liverpool team.

The Senegalese forward has enjoyed his most prolific campaign at Anfield, so far, with 26 goals in 49 appearances.

Mane even proved to be a vital part of Liverpool’s Premier League title bid by scoring 22 times to finish level with team-mate Mohamed Salah and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the top of the scoring charts.

Therefore, Real Madrid are reportedly keen on making a move for Mane in the summer transfer window. Although the striker himself insists he’s “very happy” at Liverpool.

But, to the utter horror of Reds supporters, the 27-year-old made a startling revelation to club legend Robbie Fowler.

It turns out Mane was close to joining United in 2016 from Southampton before eventually opting for Liverpool.

“I was really, really close because I even met up with them,” said Mane on the Daily Mirror.

“So I was coming, I was there and I spoke with the boss who was there before (Louis van Gaal).

“They made an offer, but in the same week, [Jurgen] Klopp called me.

“He said: ‘I think it’s the right club. The right coach for you, and I think it’s better that you go to Liverpool’.

“For me, I think it was the right time as well. I said, ‘I am going to Liverpool.’”

Mane smashed Fowler’s record of the Premier League’s fastest hat-trick for Southampton in May 2015.

The forward produced some memorable displays at St Mary’s and even proved to be a dangerous threat for the Premier League’s top-six teams.

While he scored a hat-trick against Manchester City, Mane also found the net twice in a 3-2 win over Liverpool in March 2016.

“At that time, leaving Southampton, I saw many clubs, but I thought Liverpool was the right club for me,” he said.

“I played against Liverpool, I played against City, United, every team and I scored a lot against Liverpool when I was at Southampton, but still I thought this club is my club!

“The boss (Klopp) was at Liverpool and yet I always scored against them. I think he thought: ‘He’s always killing us, so let’s buy him!’ Yeah, just to stop me scoring against Liverpool – so it was good for us both!”

Mane and Liverpool will be in action against Tottenham in the Champions League final tonight. Kick-off in Madrid will begin at 21:00 (CET).