Arsenal could have signed Sadio Mane in 2012 according to a report from Senegal but they didn’t because Giles Grimandi didn’t think he was impressive enough.
The 26-year-old has 20 goals and four assists for Liverpool this season in 40 games and has been a key player in Jurgen Klopp’s transformation of the Reds into a title-challenging side.
It could have all been so different, however, if Arsenal had taken the chance to sign him before he moved to RB Salzburg when he was just 20.
“After the Olympic Games, I offered him to (then Arsenal scout) Gilles Grimandi,” Mady Toure, president of the Generation Foot Academy, told APS. “A few years later, I recalled this episode to Arsene Wenger, who was managing Arsenal at the time.”
I knew this story sounded somewhat familiar so I checked through our archives and sure enough, we had a story from the start of 2017 explaining why Arsenal opted not to sign him – Grimandi thought he wasn’t impressive enough.
L’Equipe carried an article quoting the same Toure as above, but he added, “He [Grimandi] replied that he [Mané] was insufficient… like others.”
Mane went on to score 45 goals with 32 assists at RB Salzburg (87 games), earning his move to Southampton where he scored 25 goals with 14 assists in 75 appearances.
His form on the south coast sealed a £37m move to Liverpool where he has 53 goals and 21 assists in 113 matches.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are still looking for a winger…