The Sadio Mane transfer should be a case study of the term “domino effect” in football. In an interview with Sport Bild (via Sport1), the Senegal striker revealed that a former Bayern Munich player had a profound impact on his decision to leave Liverpool FC — Thiago Alcantara.
“I spoke to Thiago when I made my decision,” said Mane. “He told me that Bayern is a great club, that everyone there is friendly and that Munich is a wonderful city. That immediately gave me a good feeling.”
A short conversation isn’t the only thing that Thiago contributed to the transfer. Back in the summer of 2020, the Spaniard wanted to leave Bayern Munich for Liverpool with only one year remaining on his contract. Instead of publicly expressing his desire to leave and put pressure on the club, Thiago maintained a low profile as the two parties came to an amicable agreement. Liverpool obtained the Spaniard for a low fee and little hassle, which they ended up reciprocating in the Mane deal.
Funnily enough, it was a former Liverpool player who convinced Thiago to move from Bayern to Liverpool in the first place. Philippe Coutinho (who was on loan from Barcelona that year) apparently helped convince Thiago to make the switch. Coutinho himself was only at Bayern because his move to Barcelona hadn’t worked out, and he needed a loan to jumpstart his career. He didn’t get the jumpstart he wanted, but he did walk out of the deal with a treble including a shiny new Champions League trophy.
In the end, it looks like (almost) every party involved in the Coutinho transfer got some kind of benefit from it. Liverpool used the money they got to sign Virgil van Dijk and Allisson, which allowed them to win the Champions League. Bayern leveraged Coutinho to one day sign Sadio Mane for cheap from Liverpool, and got a treble out of him to boot. And Coutinho himself won the CL title he wanted, and got paid handsomely along the way.
The only losers here are Barcelona, who paid all the money but got none of the benefit. Isn’t that sad?