From a night out in Mallorca, to the ceaseless churn of rumors and refutations. How did Sadio Mané complete his sensational switch from Liverpool to Bayern Munich? Sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidžic set the record straight in an interview for Sport Bild, as captured by @iMiaSanMia.
The spur of the moment
It began in his garden: talks alongside Bayern technical director Marco Neppe with the agency representing Serge Gnabry, whom Bayern are still trying to extend. Mané’s name appears to have first been raised from the other side — agent Björn Bezemer represents both players — and Brazzo planted the seeds.
“During the talks I thought to myself: something is possible!”, he explained. “As Björn was leaving, I asked him how big the chances really are.”
Things moved fast. Brazzo learned that Liverpool was trying to extend with Mané, but the star forward had rejected every overture. Two days later, Brazzo and Neppe flew to Liverpool — Bayern head coach Julian Nagelsmann in tow.
“If there really was a chance,” Brazzo reflected, “I was ready to work on it day and night. Julian was fully behind it from the start.”
An emotional connection
The Bayern contingent arrived at the player’s home to a warm welcome. Mané — “relaxed in shorts and holding a mango” — was all ears. He greeted his guests with the German ‘Servus’ and set the tone for a positive, productive four-hour meeting. The sense that something should happen was there from the start.
Nagelsmann outlined his tactical principles, while Brazzo assured Mané that all of the Bayern brass were fully on board. More than his exceptional qualities on the pitch, they’d noticed his character as a footballer — “this hunger that has always characterized FC Bayern,” as Brazzo explained.
Then it was on to Neppe. The technical director gave a presentation introducing Mané to the what Bayern as a club were all about: the culture, the fans, the sporting identity. A crash course on Mia San Mia, in short.
“Sadio asked so many questions; everything was interesting to him!” Brazzo said. “I think the emotional side of things impressed him. I always had the experience that when a player is convinced of FC Bayern from the first moment, things work out well.”
Finally, there were the negotiations to come. Mané had enjoyed a smooth and professional relationship with Liverpool over his six years there, which facilitated his exit. Still, talks with Brazzo’s Liverpool counterpart Julian Ward “were not easy” — at one point Bayern were rumored to be so far short of the valuation that they were to be laughed out of the room — “but always respectful.”
In the end, terms were hammered out: £27.5m guaranteed, +£7.6m in conditional add-ons. Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn played an important role, and the German club seems to have come close to what they were originally willing to pay. “A real teamwork,” Brazzo concluded.
As for what’s on the horizon? The Bayern sporting director remained coy.
“The transfer window is open until August 31st. We’ll still look around...for now, we’re very well equipped in attack with Sadio Mané.”