Sadio Mane has been a crucial player for Liverpool since he arrived at the beginning of the 2016/17 season.
The £34 million signing from Southampton has been a key contributor to the Reds’ success under Jurgen Klopp, scoring a remarkable 77 goals in 161 appearances in all competitions.
After finishing last term as a joint-winner of the Premier League Golden Boot award, Mane looked set to improve on his 22-goal haul this time around until all matches were suspended until April at the earliest.
The Senegalese winger has already netted 14 times in the top-flight, along with two apiece in the Champions League and UEFA Super Cup. That puts him only two shy of Mohamed Salah at the top of Liverpool’s goalscoring charts, but he could miss out on the opportunity to overtake his Egyptian teammate.
It hinges on how the coronavirus pandemic evolves in the coming months and whether it forces the cancellation of the 2019/20 campaign, which could see the Reds deprived of their first league title since 1990.
Amid the chaos, the Mirror reports Real Madrid are intent on rekindling their interest in Mane and have made him their top summer transfer target.
Although the 27-year-old still has three years remaining on his current deal at Anfield, Los Blancos are confident they can prise him away with a bid in the region of £130 million to £140 million.
Zinedine Zidane is said to be a huge admirer of Mane, whose outstanding consistency over the past two seasons has only intensified the interest of the French boss.
The Madrid legend is keen to add to the right side of his attack - especially with Eden Hazard struggling to deliver since his long-awaited switch from Chelsea last summer.
The Belgian star - who can blame injuries for much of his disappointing first year in the Spanish capital - has managed a single goal and two assists in 15 outings for his new club.
But such is the cut-throat nature of playing for Madrid, Hazard could soon find himself in Mane’s shadow just 12 months after being the biggest story in world football.
While Klopp will surely do everything in his power to convince the Senegal international to stay on Merseyside, it’s difficult to recall the last time a player turned down the lure of Madrid.
- Viral Twitter thread about marrying Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp
- Jenas details how to stop the Premier League season being cancelled
- 51% of fans believe the 2019/20 PL season should be scrapped