Mane is the best buy of the summer: The Times

LONDON • The extent of Liverpool's loss when Sadio Mane heads for next month's African Nations Cup is underlined by his position at the top of The Times of London's table of summer signings.

According to the newspaper, the Senegal forward has contributed the most this season among the 100-odd senior players who were acquired by English Premier League clubs during the summer transfer window.

The table attempts to measure the total impact made by each player in the league, as opposed to his average contribution per game.

Minutes played, goals scored, chances created, interceptions and saves have been taken into account, while points have also been allocated according to success rate in duels, which include dribbles, tackles and 50-50 challenges.

Points are deducted for missing a "big scoring chance" (as defined by Opta) and for committing fouls and receiving yellow and red cards.

For goalkeepers and defenders, the goals conceded by their team when they were playing is taken into account.

  • THE TIMES, LONDON’S TOP 10 EPL SUMMER SIGNINGS

  • 1 Sadio Mane: 408 points Liverpool, £34 million (S$60.5 million)

    2 Marcos Alonso, 373 points Chelsea, £23 million

    3 Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 350 points Manchester United , free

    4 Paul Pogba, 335 points Manchester United, £89 million

    5 Christian Benteke, 334 points Crystal Palace, £27 million

    6 Antonio Barragan, 315 points Middlesbrough, £3 million

    7 David Luiz, 312 points Chelsea, £32 million

    8 Joe Allen, 304 points Stoke, £13 million

    9 Victor Valdes, 302 points Middlesbrough, free

    10 Matt Phillips, 301 points West Brom, £5.5 million

Mane, a £34 million (S$60.5 million) arrival from Southampton in June, benefits from having started all but one of Liverpool's league games, in addition to his eight goals, 29 chances created and a good record in duels.

The 24-year-old secured his place in Liverpool affections with the late goal that beat Everton 1-0 in the 227th Merseyside derby on Dec 20.

His place in Jurgen Klopp's team will soon be vacated, however, when the Senegal international departs for the African Nations Cup in Gabon after Liverpool's Premier League game at Sunderland on Monday.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson believes Mane's game has improved in only six months of working with Klopp.

"I always knew he was a good player," Henderson said.

"I had watched him at Southampton and could tell what he was like from playing against him. Since he has come here, he has gone up another level.

"That is credit to the manager for helping him improve. It is also credit to him for wanting to improve.

"He has been fantastic and he will be a big miss when he goes away with Senegal but we have got players who can step in and we will deal with it.

"Whoever takes his place, it is up to them to carry on his work."

Chelsea wing-back Marcos Alonso and the Manchester United pair of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba are predictably near the top of The Times' table but Christian Benteke and Antonio Barragan are more surprising occupants of top-six places.

Benteke has scored eight goals for Crystal Palace and set up 45 chances, coupled with his effectiveness at winning duels.

Barragan, the Middlesbrough right-back, profits from a high number of interceptions and his team's good defensive record.

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 31, 2016, with the headline 'Mane is the best buy of the summer: The Times'. Print Edition | Subscribe