Bayern Munich announced on Saturday that Senegalese striker Sadio Mane was in talks “about a change of club” with reports suggesting he was destined for Saudi side Al Nassr.
The German champions left Mane out of a friendly match in Tokyo, posting on social media: “Sadio Mane is in contract negotiations about a change of club and is therefore not in the line-up today.”
The 31-year-old former Liverpool star is expected to become the latest high profile player to join the cash-rich Saudi league.
As Bild and Kicker magazine reported Mane was on his way for a medical with Al Nassr, Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel declined to be drawn on the player’s future.
“We are still in the transfer window and I would like to see what’s going on and wait and see how things will happen,” he told reporters after Bayern’s 1-0 win over Kawasaki Frontale in Japan.
Mane would be another major signing for the club that pulled off the first coup of a raft of signings by Saudi clubs, luring Cristiano Ronaldo, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Mane won the Champions League and Premier League in six seasons with Liverpool and was a key part of Jurgen Klopp’s devastating front three with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
When Liverpool won their first English league title for 30 years in the pandemic-disrupted 2019-2020 season, Mane scored 18 goals.
But in the summer of 2022, when he won the African Player of the Year, Mane decided he wanted a new challenge — unconfirmed rumours said he had tired of sharing the limelight with Egypt’s Salah at Anfield.
Bayern made a big play for Mane, promising to make him the focal point of an attack which had just lost the services of Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona.
After a strong start to the season at Bayern, it soon become clear that Mane was not clicking in Bavaria.
In a Bundesliga game against Werder Bremen in November, Mane suffered an injury to his fibula and his season was put on hold.
The injury forced him to miss the World Cup in Qatar at the end of last year in a crushing blow to Senegal’s chances.
While Mane returned to the Bayern team in 2023, his problems were underlined when he became involved in a physical altercation with teammate Leroy Sane following a Champions League defeat to Manchester City.
Bayern reportedly fined Mane around 350,000 euros ($385,000) and gave him a one-match suspension for his part in the incident.
He ended the season with an underwhelming 12 goals in 38 games across all competitions.
He is set to quit Bayern with two years left on his contract.
On the international stage, Mane helped Senegal to the Africa Cup of Nations title in 2022.
Apart from Ronaldo Al Nassr have also signed this summer Croatia midfielder Marcelo Brozovic, Brazil full-back Alex Telles and Ivory Coast midfielder Seko Fofana.