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The fall of Sadio Mane: From Liverpool talisman to Bayern Munich problem bound for Saudi Arabia

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The Senegal international might have been a hero at Anfield, but he was a complete failure in his debut season with the German champions

Bayern Munich’s £35 million ($45m) capture of Sadio Mane was initially seen as one of the bargain deals of the 2022 summer transfer window, as the forward rejected a contract extension at Liverpool to take on a new challenge at the Allianz Arena.

Mane earned a place among Europe’s elite attackers during his six-year stint at Anfield, scoring 120 goals in 269 games, becoming a Premier League and Champions League winner in the process.

Bayern hoped that the Reds talisman would help fill the void left by Robert Lewandowski, who completed a long-anticipated move to Barcelona shortly after Mane’s arrival in Germany. The early signs were positive, with five goals netted in his first six appearances after slotting straight into Julian Nagelsmann’s starting XI.

However, the goals quickly dried up for Mane, and he faced plenty of criticism after a poor display in the club’s 2-0 Champions League group-stage victory over Barcelona. He was substituted 70 minutes into the game after failing to muster a single shot, with Nagelsmann left frustrated.

“I would like him to do certain things more,” said the coach. “Maybe less looking for the ball or teammates, and trying to be a bit more self-confident.”

By the end of the campaign, it was clear Mane had become a shadow of the player he was at Liverpool. The 31-year-old has also been accused of being a disruptive influence behind the scenes, and his future at Bayern has been thrown into serious doubt amid reported interest from Saudi Arabia…

Nagelsmann was ruthlessly sacked by Bayern after a 2-1 Bundesliga defeat to Bayer Leverkusen on March 19, which allowed Borussia Dortmund to leapfrog them at the top of the table.

At the time, Bayern were still in the hunt for a treble, but they no longer had faith in Nagelsmann to finish the job, and former Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel was drafted in as his replacement.

In the days that followed, it was widely reported that Nagelsmann had lost the dressing room, with Mane and Leroy Sane among those that had wanted him gone.

According to BILD, Mane was also involved in a furious row with the German manager after Bayern’s victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of their last-16 Champions League tie, as he complained about being restricted to a substitute role.