Julian Nagelsmann has faced Liverpool more than once during his managerial career before he was Bayern Munich manager. He faced them when he managed TSG Hoffenheim in the 2017/18 Champions League group stages playoffs and then with RB Leipzig in the 2020/21 Champions League round of 16. Jurgen Klopp got the better of Nagelsmann on both occasions, but Nagelsmann was able to get a good look at Sadio Mane, who’s been heavily linked with a move to Bayern this summer. He’s made it clear that he would like to leave Liverpool this summer and that Bayern is his preferred destination.
So far, Liverpool has already rejected two opening bids from Bayern, but the understanding is still that they will be able to negotiate a price that will suit all parties and allow the move to eventually materialize. As he’s now entering the last year of his contract with Liverpool, it’d be unwise for them to not let him go, so the negotiations right now are just a mere inevitability as far as reaching an agreement on a transfer fee.
Per a new report from The Athletic, it’s been Nagelsmann that’s been the driving force behind Bayern’s pursuit of Mane. Having played Liverpool twice earlier in his career, Nagelsmann has always been a fan of the Senegal international. He’s particularly impressed with his versatility, experience at the highest levels, and his quality in attack, all of which he feels will greatly improve Bayern’s squad. He’s not meant to be a direct replacement for Robert Lewandowski, but he can and will be an attacking threat of his own that could add so much to Bayern’s front line.
Part of Mane’s versatility, as The Athletic alludes to, is the fact that he can play both wide and centrally in attack. Klopp has used him both ways during his time at Liverpool and used him centrally quite often towards the end of Liverpool’s 2021/22 campaign where they were pushing for an unprecedented quadruple of silverware.
Injuries to both Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota slightly aided in Mane’s frequency of central starts, but he was still as effective there as he is on the wing. This would be a huge tool for Nagelsmann in Bayern’s attack, alredy having Thomas Muller, Kinglsey Coman, Leroy Sane, Jamal Musiala, and Serge Gnabry at his disposal. However, with Gnabry’s contract situation, Mane’s arrival could leave to his departure from the club, but Nagelsmann would still be able to utilize a system with three forwards even if Gnabry leaves and Mane joins.