A Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League and Club World Cup winner with Liverpool, Sadio Mane now begins a new chapter in his career at Bayern Munich.
The 30-year-old forward joined the German giants for a fee of £35m after six years at Anfield, where he scored 120 goals in 269 games.
Mane, who was key to Senegal’s Africa Cup of Nations victory in February, scored on his competitive debut for Bayern as the The Bavarian club won the German Super Cup last Saturday.
Former Nigeria international Efan Ekoku is backing Mane to adapt to the Bundesliga and become a success for the six-time European champions.
“I think as a top-class player and a professional, he will definitely succeed at Bayern,” Ekoku told BBC Sport Africa.
“He made a good choice. If you are going to leave a big club like Liverpool and if you are still at the peak of your powers, then you have to choose wisely.
“Mane made it and went to a club with as much history as Liverpool, for the last 40 to 50 years, to Bayern. The chances of him succeeding in the Bundesliga with Bayern are just as great, if not more.”
After spells at Metz, Red Bull Salzburg and Southampton, Mane moved to Liverpool in 2016 and scored 90 Premier League goals for the Reds, finishing his final season with 23 goals in all competitions.
Will Mane need time to sleep at Bayern?
Mane told BBC Sport Africa last month that his reason for quitting Liverpool was to seek a new challenge and is expected to make his Bundesliga debut against Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday evening.
However, despite his development and remarkable success in England, former DR Congo captain Gabriel Zakuani expects Mane will have to adapt to a new system in Germany.
“We know Mane is a workhorse – and he has the quality to do it – but it will be difficult for him,” Zakuani told BBC Sport Africa.
“I think it could be a different challenge for him because at Liverpool he had a place in the system, in that he had everyone doing the hard work with him.
“With Bayern Munich it’s completely different – they play a different style so he might struggle to adapt, but Mane is the type of player who likes to learn.
“We’ve seen the changes he’s had since he’s been at Southampton and how he’s become a world star. Now he’s going to Bayern as a big-name player, so I’d expect him to do well eventually, but maybe give him some time to sleep.”
Ekoku, however, believes adapting to life in Bavaria should not prove a problem for Mane.
“If Mane can score 18-20 goals in the league and 25+ in all competitions over the last four or five years for Liverpool, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t achieve those numbers in the Bundesliga,” the 55 years old. – said the old former Norwich City striker.
“It would be difficult as it will take him some time to adjust. I think he should acclimate quite well.
“Manet is a competitor, he is a real warrior. I have no doubts about him.”
He replaces Bayern legend Lewandowski
The 2021-22 season was a successful one for Mane, who won the Cup of Nations with Senegal before helping Liverpool win the League Cup and FA Cup and finish runners-up in the Premier League and Champions League.
He will replace Robert Lewandowski at Bayern, with the Polish international seal transfer to Spanish Barcelona.
But Zakuani believes that the reigning African Men’s Player of the Year he is a completely different player to the 33-year-old Pole, who scored 344 times in 374 games for the Allianz Arena club.
“I don’t think he can compare to Mane playing more from the wing, but his scoring record has been good for Liverpool recently.
“Going to the Bundesliga, they will probably expect him to be involved with most of the goals because of the fee, because a lot of German clubs don’t tend to pay that kind of money.”
Ekoku, the first player to score more than three goals in a Premier League match and also the first African to score a hat-trick in the division, agrees.
“I don’t think it’s a direct exchange. I don’t think there are many players like Lewandowski in world football,” he said.
“But I think (Bayern manager) Julian Nagelsmann is looking for a different type of attack at Bayern anyway. We all saw what he did at RB Leipzig. And so he is likely to build smaller mobile forwards and have players like Mane, and [Serge] Gnabry and [Leroy] Sane, who will be interchangeable.
“I think that’s the way Bayern will play going forward. If you want to get a younger version of Lewandowski at the moment, nobody can say exactly who he is.
“They are looking to the future and Mane is a few years younger than Lewandowski, so there will be a slightly more fluid attack at Bayern – and Mane, style-wise, is a perfect fit.”