That’s according to Mike McGrath of the Sun, who claims the City director of football, Txiki Begiristain, has been keeping close tabs on the Senegal international as the club view him as “the type of player incoming boss Pep Guardiola needs when he arrives this summer.” However it’s also stated the Red Devils remain favourites to land Mane, who is valued at £25 million in the piece.
Mane has been a star for Southampton this term, excelling in a plethora of positions in advanced areas of the field. For United, he’d add plenty of desirable attributes to a team that has been lacking in thrust for long spells of the current campaign.
As Gunnerblog noted recently when Saints took on Arsenal, the forward is a major threat when the game gets stretched:
Mane & Long such a menace on the break. This is on a knife-edge.2016-2-2 20:55:39
His dribbling ability, power in possession and increasingly refined end product would boost both of the Manchester clubs.
United have been moribund to watch at times this term, with little excitement or ingenuity in their forward forays. If the club did decide to toss someone like Mane, a raw, enterprising bundle of energy, into what is an otherwise meticulous setup, then it would potentially make this team much more enjoyable to watch.
As Bleacher Report’s Rob Blanchette noted recently, manager Louis van Gaal will get no grief from supporters if the team plays with attacking endeavour like they did in their last outing, a 3-0 win against Stoke City:
Rob B. @_Rob_B
No good if #MUFC regress from here. ATTACK teams & no one will complain. LvG will get our backing at every game if he repeats tonight.2016-2-3 01:29:26
A sum of £25 million may seem like a lot, but given his penchant for the unpredictable, ability on the ball and scintillating speed, it’s difficult to see Mane not being a hit at Old Trafford if he was to sign. However, should City muscle in on the pursuit, then the Red Devils could face a massive fight to convince him to join up.
City Linked with Neymar
Another reported Manchester United target their local rivals are said to be keen on capturing is Barcelona superstar Neymar.
According to Joe Bernstein of the Mail on Sunday, with Pep Guardiola set to take over at the Etihad Stadium in the summer, City are desperate to make a marquee signing and have outlined the Brazilian as an option. The interest of United and the Blaugrana’s bitter rivals Real Madrid is also noted.
Neymar has blossomed into one of the best footballers on the planet this campaign, pushing Barcelona to the top of the La Liga table with a swagger. Here is a look at why many consider him to have been the standout player in the division this term:
Now 24 years old, Neymar has developed into the complete attacking footballer. Not only does he notch a regular stream of goals, he drives the team forward with his sensational runs, leaves opponents bewildered with his brilliant skill and is always seeking to take responsibility at critical points in games.
As OptaJose noted lately, for his team-mates, given the amount of chances Neymar conjures, he must be a dream to play alongside:
66 - No player has created more chances than @neymarjr this season in Spanish La Liga. #HappyBirthdayNeymar https://t.co/vEZpC7Lt9v2016-2-5 09:00:52
Bernstein suggests in his piece that Neymar “is frustrated at playing second fiddle to [Lionel] Messi at Barcelona,” but that’s at odds with the evidence on the field, with the pair seemingly loving every minute of their football alongside Luis Suarez; they’re the best attacking trio ever assembled in the sport’s history.
Nevertheless, if there is veracity in these reports, then United’s chances of bringing Neymar to Old Trafford look even slimmer than they initially were. It’d show great ambition on the part of the Red Devils to launch a pursuit of the former Santos man, but you sense any more time spent on plotting this deal would be time wasted.