Sadio Mane was close to joining Real Madrid before Zinedine Zidane resigned as manager – but the deal could still be revived this summer, according to reports in France.
The Liverpool striker is reported to have been the first major signing lined up by Real Madrid on the back of them winning a third successive Champions League, beating Mane’s Liverpool in the final.
Despite that European success, Real finished 17 points behind Barcelona in La Liga, leading the club to plan a major overhaul of the first team squad.
According to France Football, Senegal international Mane was top of their shortlist, ahead of other high profile, long linked targets including Harry Kane, David De Gea and Eden Hazard.
They claim Mane was a target for Madrid even before he impressed with his performance in the Champions League final.
Mane scored Liverpool’s goal in their 3-1 defeat in Kiev, and led their attacking threat after Mo Salah was forced off in the first half with a shoulder injury.
It is reported that Mane had agreed personal terms with Real, and that the Bernabeu club only needed to finalise the fee with Liverpool in order to complete the move.
However the departure of Zidane, who was said to have been driving the deal, means that any potential transfer is on hold – although it could still go through if the Frenchman’s successor decides to move for Mane, who is still keen on the deal.
Zidane surprisingly resigned as Real boss last week with disagreements over transfer policy as one of the driving reasons for his exit.
Real’s hierarchy reportedly wanted Zidane to pursue transfers such as a swap deal involving Cristiano Ronaldo and PSG striker Neymar – however the Frenchman was unhappy with this strategy.