Three reasons why Man United shouldn’t sign Sadio Mane
Three reasons why Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal shouldn't sign Southampton star Sadio Mane
1) Current options
Louis van Gaal may have hundreds of millions of pounds at his disposal, but that is no excuse for wastefulness. He must seriously consider whether Mane is a player who will improve his striker options or merely one who will play 25 minutes-a-week and fill in when others are unavailable. Like him or not, in Wayne Rooney, van Gaal has the most prolific Englishman of the 21st century to date, with the 29-year-old notching 11 Premier League goals or more for the past 11 consecutive seasons. And yes, this includes last season when the Dutchman seemingly refused to play his captain up front. Now back leading the line as the spearhead of United’s attack – and despite a poor start to the campaign – Rooney must answer his critics and once again hit the 20-goal mark that defines a truly great striker. Behind Rooney in the pecking order, Javier Hernandez must also grab any opportunities with both hands. The popular Mexican has found chances increasingly hard to come by since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, but looks set to stay at Old Trafford and must prove to van Gaal that he is worth his place on the wage bill. As we saw last season, LVG is also prepared to give young academy product James Wilson a run out when chances arise, so the 19-year-old must seek to build on last season’s solitary league goal this time around.
2) Better targets
It’s no secret that United have untold millions to dish out in the pursuit of new signings that will reinstate them at the top of the table. But can we honestly say that Sadio Mane and his 10 Premier League goals are the best they can do? With all the rumours flying about this summer, it has come as a great shock to see Mane linked with the Manchester giants, and few can ignore that his arrival would be somewhat underwhelming when uttered in the same breath as failed moves for Thomas Muller, Alexandre Lacazette or even Harry Kane. Mane looks to be an impulsive option, one for a manager and board who have had enough of rejected enquiries and are hankering for a new signing to parade in front of a ravenous crowd frustrated by lack of activity. Van Gaal and Ed Woodward need to consider all options before making a genuine move for the Kenyan, who may be a good player but is not the marquee signing United fans will be expecting or hoping for.
3) Flair over experience
Pace is one of the top criteria for Van Gaal as he seeks out a new front man, but another box at the top of the wishlist seems to be Premier League experience. It is why the 64-year-old was more excited about the signing of former League One man Morgan Schneiderlin than 23-medal man Bastian Schweinsteiger, and it is why the surprise chase of Mane rather than an overseas hit man makes sense to him but not many others. To choose flair over experience should mean a cut price, but the mooted £15m could be better spent elsewhere. Bidding for a player on the back of one successful season may be the norm in transfer dealings these days, but by Van Gaal’s theory a Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe or Rickie Lambert could do the job of bringing Premier League know-how and firepower to his front line. Many fans, both in Manchester and across the country, will see van Gaal and Woodward’s move as unambitious and unimaginative: poaching rival teams’ proven players instead of bringing in players to mould under their own image.