The Best Premier League Transfers Ever: Sadio Mane to Liverpool (2016/17)
Jurgen Klopp got his first summer transfer window as Liverpool manager under way with by bringing in Sadio Mane from Southampton.
And, along with his manager, the Senegalese has subsequently played a key role in turning the Reds from also-rans to Champions League winners and then Premier League champions.
Signings don’t get much better.
This article is part of FootballTransfers’ greatest-ever Premier League deals. We have selected just one standout transfer from every season of the Premier League, including two honourable mentions. This list will then be gathered to provide a definitive list of the best pieces of business in the Premier League era.
Sadio Mane, Southampton to Liverpool, £34m
Had the summer of 2016 gone exactly to plan for Klopp, Mane wouldn’t have ended up as a Liverpool player.
The German was, in fact, keen on a move for former Borussia Dortmund charge Mario Gotze, who was about to leave Bayern Munich following a three-year stay that had failed to live up to expectations.
Unfortunately for Klopp, his compatriot was not convinced the Reds would quickly be restored to Europe’s top table, and so he instead return to Dortmund.
Liverpool reacted by moving for Mane, securing a £34m deal that initiated a long overdue link-up between player and manager.
Klopp had passed up the chance to sign the winger during their respective stints as Dortmund boss and Red Bull Salzburg starlet, and had regretted it ever since.
But Mane immediately made up for lost time as he scored an incredible solo goal on debut at Arsenal, kicking off a Liverpool career defined by consistent, uninterrupted progress.
After helping the Reds return to the Champions League in his first season, the forward took them to the final the next season, won the competition the year after that, and then played a key role in ending a 30-year wait for the Premier League title.
He perhaps embodies the meteoric rise the Merseyside giants have undertaken under Klopp and, for that reason, deserves to be considered one of the best Premier League signings of all-time.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, PSG to Manchester United, free transfer
Although he arrived with a considerable reputation, there were doubts expressed about whether, at the age of 35, Zlatan Ibrahimovic represented a smart signing for Manchester United.
But the ageless Swede once again proved his doubters wrong, scoring goals and collecting trophies in customary fashion at Old Trafford.
Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals in 46 appearances in 2016-17 as United won the Community Shield, League Cup and Europa League under Jose Mourinho.
However, a knee injury suffered in April cut that campaign short and resulted in the forward playing just seven more times for the club before joining LA Galaxy in March 2018.
He is fondly remembered for a short but sweet stint in Manchester, though.
N’Golo Kante, Leicester City to Chelsea, £32m
He might well have represented something of a no-brainer signing given his exploits at Leicester, but Chelsea deserve huge credit for pushing themselves to the front of the queue to sign N’Golo Kante.
The Frenchman had been a one-man midfield at Leicester City as they pulled off one of the most incredible sporting achievements of all-time in winning the 2015-16 Premier League.
And he continued in much the same vein at Chelsea, helping Antonio Conte’s debut season with the club end with a league title success.
The midfielder’s career since has been dominated by debate over his best position but, having added FA Cup and Europa League winner’s medals to his collection in the meantime, there is no doubt he has been a fine signing for Chelsea.