Mane hits Prem like duck to water

Why Sadio Mane Has Done More Than Just Breaking 20 Year-Old Premiership Record

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One of the many outstanding performers for Southampton this season has been Senegal’s Player of the Year, Sadio Mane. Ronald Koeman’s impressive position in the league with ‘The Saints’ amid quite a handful of key players leaving the club last summer has but underscored the club’s impressive campaign and zeal to fight for a spot in Europe. 

Mane, 23, having begun his footballing career with French side Metz switched to Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg after just a season in 2012. An amount that fetched Metz the third highest transfer fee in their coffers.

Well, it didn’t take too long for Mane to establish himself as fans’ favorite. He scored notably three hattricks (amongst many other goals) during his stay with the Austrian Bundesliga side, winning quite a number of laurels as well.

The nimble-footed youngster had his transfer figure tripled prior to joining Southampton ahead of this season (2014/2015) – in the region of £11.8 million.

It’s inevitable to concede that Mane’s brilliant display in the 2012 Olympic games with Senegal added a pound of appraisal to his already blistering career.

Mane’s arrival in the English top-flight was dubbed a perfect replacement for club legend, Ricky Lambert, given his young limbs. His exuberance was sooner than later shown in the colours of Southampton as he marshaled the physical nature of the league pretty well, cuddled with a sleeky right-foot.

Mane’s trickery left defenders clutching at straws on many occasions. His pace was another one for managers to mull over as his confidence was building immensely.

Spearheading an enviable generation of Senegal’s attack featuring Mame Biram Diouf et al, Mane’s failure to put his best foot forward perhaps resulted in the Teranga Lions’ underwhelming performance in the 2015 African Cup of Nations.

Mane’s debut arrived on 23rd September 2014 in their 2-1 loss to Arsenal in the Capital One Cup fixture. He created a penalty and somehow impressed on his full debut significantly.  Mane has thus played 29 games, recording 10 goals for the Saints in the Premier League, since cementing his place as a regular member.

The ambidextrous winger who is equally comfortable playing across the three front roles has also provided 3 assists. Mane has also completed 623 passes with a pass accuracy of 79 per cent of which 61 per cent were forward passes, highlighting his intents and averaging a shot accuracy of 52 per cent; recorded by Squawka.

Admirably shifting in great performances against league champions Chelsea and Arsenal, Mane is characteristically aplomb in front of goal, epitomized with an unreal finishing technique versus Chelsea and Arsenal (precisely the latter side).

Mane not only has impressed in his first season for Southampton but is regarded as perhaps one of the best versatile wingers in the league. Maybe, African footballers are rather evolving into something more fanciful and little-less robust. Players like Yacine Brahimi, Andre Ayew and Crystal Palace’s Yannick Bolasie attest to this hypothesis.

Mane’s scintillating campaign was capped off in grand style as he registered his name in the annals of the Premier League. His last league game at home brought an end to a 21 year-old record held by former Liverpool targetman Robbie Fowler. Sadio scored three times within the space of 2 minutes, 56 seconds surpassing previous time of 4 minutes 33 seconds, as his side thumped Aston Villa over the weekend.

It is only fair to admit that, not only has Mane broken a dear record in the division, he finished a fine season with a brilliantly sweet icing on the cake. The dead-eye finisher (at least for a winger – light-heartedly tho) wears his heart on his sleeve many a time with a level-headed display.

Mane has done more than just breaking the said record, he has also passed the test for a debut season standard quite remarkably if not fashionably.

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