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Robbie Keane has questioned why a player would swap Liverpool for Bayern Munich amid strong speculation that Sadio Mane could be on his way to the German champions.
Bayern are said to have had another bid of € 35.3 million (£ 30m), part of which consists of bonus-related additions, rejected by Liverpool earlier this week.
Mane has won six major trophies across his six seasons at Anfield and has an additional 12 months to run on his contract.
But when the 30-year-old spoke while on international duty with Senegal last week, he indicated he is open to leaving the English giants in this window.
But former Liverpool striker Keane has suggested Mane would take a step back in his career if he switches from Premier League almost to Bundesliga winners.
“If Mane obviously goes, it’s a big loss for Liverpool,” Keane told Stats Perform on a media day ahead of his participation in Sunday’s Soccer Aid charity match.
“If the rumors are true and he goes to Bayern Munich, it’s a big signing for them. It looks like they’re going to lose [Robert] Lewandowski.
“I can not really see why you would leave Liverpool to go to Bayern Munich at the moment.
“Especially when you got a manager like Jurgen Klopp, and what they are doing at the moment is winning two trophies, and could easily have won four of them.
“I’m surprised by that. It’s clear he’s a top player. I’m sure no matter where he goes, any team will be happy with him.”
Mane has scored 90 goals in 196 Premier League appearances for Liverpool since joining from Southampton for £ 34 million at the start of the 2016-17 promotion.
Only Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy (104), Liverpool colleague Mohamed Salah (118) and Tottenham’s Harry Kane (134) have scored more in the competition during that period.
He would no doubt leave a big void to be filled, but Jurgen Klopp’s side appear to be close to picking up Benfica striker Darwin Nunez as a likely replacement.
Nunez has scored 48 goals in 85 matches for Benfica in all tournaments, of which 61 are starters and averaged 1.2 goals every 90 minutes in the Portuguese Primeira Liga last season.
It can be compared to 0.5 goals per. 90 minutes in the Premier League for Mane, however, across six more matches in the 2021-22 season and in a tougher division.
Keane, who spent a season at Anfield in 2008-09, believes Nunez will deliver something a little different to Liverpool if a deal is agreed with Benfica.
“I’ve seen him a few times and I think he’s a good player,” Keane said. “He’s clearly young and he’s more of a number nine that Liverpool have not had in a couple of years.
“They have [Roberto] Firmino, of course, but Firmino drops to 10. They have not had a typical number nine.
“So it will bring a bit more of a goalkeeper up there that others can play out of. I think it will be a good signing.”
Keane is also looking forward to playing in this weekend’s Soccer Aid in partnership with UNICEF, a charity match that will help raise money to give children the best start in life.
“We are here so that UNICEF can raise as much money as possible, which is an incredible thing,” he said.
“What they have done over the last 11-12 years, the amount of money they have collected is incredible. But it is also good to come here and mingle with completely different people.”