Sadio Mane has revealed it was his own personal choice to turn down a move to Manchester United.
The Senegal international was a prime target for the Old Trafford outfit in the summer of 2015, with the Red Devils reportedly offering £25 million to Southampton for his services.
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) October 16, 2016
However, the 24-year-old is convinced he made the right decision to stick it out on the south coast for an extra season with the Saints before his big money move to Anfield this summer.
“In honesty, there were some clubs interested at that time but I never made any choices then,” Mane told The Telegraph.
“Ronald Koeman was not happy with all the rumours because he wanted me to stay, but it was not too complicated because for me, also, it was not time to go. When I spoke to him I told him, ‘No problem, I will stay’. It was my decision. I wanted to stay at Southampton.
“In my head I thought I would be there a couple more years and prove something. I was convinced I still had to prove something, improve more and learn more before I moved to a bigger club. But then I knew when the right time was for me. The extra year helped me get better, and it is important for every player to go step by step.
“It was only when Liverpool came in [last summer] that I never had a second thought and knew I wanted to join. It was different because then was the right moment for me. I finally came to Liverpool and I was happy with that, and now I’m happy I am playing against Manchester United.”
Mane, who has scored three goals in six starts for the Reds in the Premier League this season, will line up against United on Monday night as Jurgen Klopp’s men look to continue an impressive start to the season.
The African speedster has been the embodiment of Liverpool’s all-action style in 2016-17 and alongside Brazilian duo Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho has comprised arguably the most devastating attacking unit in English football this season.