James Pearce expects Sadio Mane to stay at Liverpool amid reported Real Madrid interest

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Liverpool forward Sadio Mane is happy at the club and will likely resist any potential overtures from Real Madrid to try and tempt him away from Anfield.

That is the verdict of journalist James Pearce, who gave his take on the Senegal attacker’s future on Merseyside in a Q&A for The Athletic. The 28-year-old Reds player is on Real Madrid’s transfer wish list, with Zinedine Zidane apparently a huge admirer of him, according to a report from Football Insider.

However, Pearce thinks Liverpool fans need not worry about the possibility of him leaving this summer, saying: “I’d be amazed if Real Madrid didn’t want Mane. He’s had a sensational season and was deservedly crowned African Footballer of the Year. He would walk into any team in Europe.

“However, despite the rumours, I’m not aware of any contact from Real Madrid and I can’t see his head being turned. He’s loved at Liverpool by staff, team-mates and fans alike. He’s happy in the city and is earning big money while challenging for and winning the biggest prizes in club football. I just don’t see why he would want to leave.

“Going to Real Madrid isn’t a step up like it used to be. One of Klopp’s biggest achievements has been turning Liverpool into a final destination for top talent rather than a stepping stone.”

Pearce is right to dismiss the notion of Mane jumping ship from Liverpool in favour of Real Madrid for the reasons that he has specified. The Senegal forward has been a regular presence in Jurgen Klopp’s first XI from the moment that he came to Anfield from Southampton in 2016 and he has rewarded his manager’s faith with a consistently strong goal return, hitting double figures in each Premier League campaign for the Reds and scoring 13 or more goals every season, peaking at 26 last term (as per TransferMarkt).

Even if the astounding goal figures from Mohamed Salah since 2017 have eclipsed Mane, the latter has continued to focus on his job and keep the goals flowing from his end. Although Mane reacted angrily to being substituted at Burnley last August after an incident where Salah eschewed the chance to tee him up for a scoring opportunity, he insisted that the spat was quickly forgotten and that the two are “really good friends” (as per Liverpool Echo) – an indication that the Senegal native has a cordial relationship with his Liverpool team-mates.

Also, as Pearce pointed out, Mane is already at a club where he has won trophies and looks set to claim further silverware. The 28-year-old has won the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup with the Reds in the past year and looks set to add a Premier League winner’s medal once the season resumes (as seems likely) and Liverpool get the two wins they need to guarantee the title. Up to a year ago, the dearth of recent silverware at Anfield may have been a factor, but such concerns have since been quashed emphatically.

While it has been only two years since Real Madrid won a third successive Champions League crown, they have claimed just one La Liga title in the last eight years and face the distinct possibility of missing out in both competition again this season – they trail Barcelona in the domestic title race and lost the home leg of their Champions League last 16 tie against Manchester City. At this moment, Liverpool seem better placed to win major honours than Zidane’s team.

Therefore, it’s easy to see why Pearce is confident that Mane will be quite content to stay put at Anfield instead of following the likes of Steve McManaman, Michael Owen and Xabi Alonso in upping sticks to Real Madrid.

Liverpool fans, do you share Pearce’s confidence about Mane snubbing Real Madrid to remain at Anfield? Have your say by commenting below!

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