How Sadio Mane helped Jeremy Doku snub Liverpool in private talks with Man City target
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Sadio Mane helped convince Jeremy Doku to snub Liverpool before the winger’s prospective move to Manchester City.
It has been widely reported that City have agreed to sign Belgian winger Doku from Rennes in a deal worth £55.4million.
The 21-year-old, who has netted 12 goals in 92 appearances for the Ligue 1 outfit, is poised to become City's third major signing of the summer, after Mateo Kovacic from Chelsea for £25million and Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig for £77million.
Doku is expected to travel to Manchester on Tuesday to undergo a medical before the transfer is formally announced.
West Ham, Tottenham and Chelsea were all reportedly registered an interest in signing Doku.
Meanwhile, five years ago, Liverpool came close to a deal to buy Doku from Anderlecht, with Reds boss Jurgen Klopp having been permitted to talk to the player personally.
Indeed, the fee would have reportedly only been compensation for his development, and likely to have been in the region of just £500,000. And to convince the winger to join Liverpool, the club wheeled out their stars, including then under-18s boss Steven Gerrard, Gini Wijnaldum and Sadio Mane.
However, Doku later revealed that Mane did little to convince the then 15-year-old of joining the Reds, instead telling him there was no need to rush his development.
“My 16th birthday was coming up, the age you can sign a pro contract. A lot of teams came to see me - Liverpool was the most concrete interest but there was also Arsenal and Chelsea,” Doku later told Ouest-France.
“I went with my mum and dad, and we were given a tour of the stadium, the training ground, even the school I would go to. They gave me a signed Salah shirt, and I met the players.
"I was able to discuss with Jurgen, Gerrard too, we looked at some video moments, and he spoke about the development. We met players, (Simon) Mignolet because he was Belgian, Wijnaldum from the Netherlands. I talked a lot with Mane but we didn't really talk about football. We talked about everything.
"He told me that I was young, that I still had time… he wasn't trying to convince me or to say to me 'come here, you will succeed'.”