LONDON • Sadio Mane underwent a medical check on Merseyside yesterday as Liverpool closed in on the signing of the Southampton forward for a fee of £30 million (S$54.3 million), British media reported.
Liverpool have been in negotiations over the 24-year-old for several weeks and hope to complete the deal, with officials at St Mary's Stadium initially holding out for closer to £40 million.
The English clubs are understood to have agreed a fee in principle for the Senegal forward and all that is left is for Mane to finalise personal terms. The transfer should be completed within the next few days.
Mane joined Southampton for £11.8 million from Red Bull Saltzburg two years ago and has scored 11 goals in 37 Premier League appearances, including two against Liverpool in a dramatic 3-2 win at St Mary's on March 20.
He will join a well-trodden path of players to leave St Mary's for Anfield in recent seasons following Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne and Rickie Lambert.
Mane was dropped by Ronald Koeman in January amid interest from Manchester United but despite going four months without a goal, ended last season as the team's leading scorer with 15 goals in all competitions.
Jurgen Klopp turned his attention to Mane after the Liverpool manager was frustrated in his attempts to lure his primary target, Mario Gotze, from Bayern Munich.
Mane is set to become Liverpool's fourth signing of the summer after Joel Matip joined on a free transfer from Schalke, Marko Grujic left Red Star Belgrade, and goalkeeper Loris Karius was imported from Mainz.
The Mane deal, if it materialises, would mean Southampton have received £91.5 million in transfer fees from Liverpool over the past three summers in addition to the four earlier moves.
Southampton have already acted to replace Mane, completing the signing of Norwich's Nathan Redmond on Saturday on a five-year deal for an undisclosed fee believed to be around £10 million.
The Saints are also planning to appoint Claude Puel as their new manager this week, according to the Telegraph.
The club have explored a series of options following Koeman's move to Everton, including former Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini, Rudi Garcia, Vitor Pereira and Bournemouth's Eddie Howe.
It is now clear that Southampton have listed Puel as their priority following positive talks over the past week. He is a former player at Monaco, having spent 17 seasons at the French club. The former Monaco, Lille, Lyon and Nice manager has, however, never coached a team outside of France.
As a manager, he won the Ligue 1 title at Monaco, made it to the Champions League semi-final with Lyon and most notably, worked with Eden Hazard at Lille.
REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN