Liverpool forward Sadio Mane rejected an offer from Louis van Gaal at Manchester United in 2015 because he believed it was “not the right club” for him.
The Dutchman, heading into his second season at Old Trafford, made extensive efforts to sign Pedro from Barcelona, only for the winger to join Chelsea instead.
Mane ultimately moved to Liverpool from Southampton the following year, and has since claimed 36 goals on 76 appearances under Jurgen Klopp.
Speaking in an interview this week, Mane shed light on how he didn’t see Van Gaal’s United as the right fit for him in 2015.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “Some teams wanted me – Manchester (United), the wrong team wanted me.”
“Of course, I spoke with Van Gaal, and they even made an offer. But for me it was not the right club, it was not the right moment. To feel this – the right moment, the right coach, the right club.”
Mane is a player who – although it hurts to say – would significantly help United, a team which has for some time lacked a sense of direct running in the final third. The Senegal international, although often profligate, brings thrust and precision to attacks. At the very least he brings bums off seats.
His decision to avoid taking part in the 2015/16 season, therefore, was a smart one. He would not have felt at home playing in a team which spent all of its time passing aimlessly and playing with the tempo of a dying slug. Nobody would have done. Not even the dying slug, which would have probably wanted Van Gaal to play more direct.