Should Liverpool sell Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah to buy Jadon Sancho?

Liverpool, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah (Photo by Peter Powell - Pool/Getty Images)
Liverpool, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah (Photo by Peter Powell - Pool/Getty Images) /

The upcoming transfer saga involving Jadon Sancho could be one of the most captivating storylines of the summer in the Premier League, because we could very well see Manchester United and Liverpool go head-to-head for the Borussia Dortmund winger.

Sancho hasn’t just been one of the best up-and-coming players in the Bundesliga over the past three years. He has literally been one of the best overall players on the entire planet during that time span. And Dortmund are ready to cash-in on their affordable investment from Manchester City after United failed to meet their asking price last summer.

Because Sancho waited for his move, the versatile winger’s transfer fee could now decrease from 120 million euros to 90 million euros. That number is within reach for Liverpool, but it won’t be easy for them to conjure up that kind of money during the pandemic.

However, there is a way Liverpool could do it. As ESPN FC’s Jan Aage Fjortoft stated on Twitter that while the Reds have interest in Jadon Sancho, the only way they can realistically sign the star man is if they part ways with one of their star wide forwards, Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane.

Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have already been the subject of transfer rumors away from Liverpool

Transfer rumors involving Mane and Salah are nothing new. They occurred last year and the year before, with clubs like Real Madrid linked to the talented pair. But because of the pandemic, teams are in the same situation as the Reds. They just aren’t interested in paying up for players. If they are, they want younger talent to invest in like Kylian Mbappe, Sancho, or the England international’s much-hyped teammate Erling Haaland.

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So the question about if selling Mane or Salah is worth it to buy Sancho is actually a loaded one. Because that assumes Liverpool will be able to find a transfer partner for either player. Salah is having a great season and is carrying his team’s sputtering offense, but Mane is, by his own admission, not having a good season. Therefore, the left winger’s value is at an all-time low. “Sell low and buy high” is not really a sound economic plan.

Sancho is tempting. He could have an impact similar to Eden Hazard in the Premier League. Recall Hazard was also a young, dominant force for Lille in Ligue 1 before making the jump to Chelsea and dominating English football. Like Hazard, Sancho is a winger who can score, assist, carry the ball, and create chance after chance. He truly has matured from a skilled, hard-working winger to a truly consistent wide playmaker.

If Liverpool had to choose, they would have to sell Mane instead of Salah. Selling Salah isn’t an option, because he has 35 percent of his team’s goals this season, which is tied with Dominic Calvert-Lewin for the heftiest goal contribution to one team in the Premier League. If the Reds sell Salah to buy Sancho, they will lose goals, considering the latter has not been as prolific. He did score 17 goals last season, but that was with a high-flying Dortmund attack.

The problem is Salah is more valuable. He’s having the better season, he is a left-footer, and he’s had more overall success in the Premier League, even if Mane is also world-class. And even if they sell either player, they’d still have to give up some extra cash, given that neither Mane nor Salah will command as high of a transfer fee as the 21-year-old Sancho.

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At the end of the day, Liverpool need new talent in the attack, and they need a new superstar. This team is burned out and they need someone fresh. Getting the right-footed Sancho on the left side as a secondary scorer and primary creator to replace Mane would be beneficial, but it all depends on the price differential. If there is too much of a gap between the 90 million euros it costs to get Sancho and however much they can sell Mane for, then Liverpool might stick with what they have. Because Mane and Salah are both still excellent footballers.