Mane, 24, starred in two seasons at Southampton, smashing 25 goals in 75 games for the club following a summer 2014 move from Red Bull Salzburg.
The Senegal international terrorised Premier League defenders with his blistering pace, and his superb record for the Saints unsurprisingly led to major interest over the summer.
It was Liverpool who managed to prise Mane away from Southampton, paying a reported £34m (BBC Sport) for the winger, and signing yet another Southampton player to go along with Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana at Anfield.
Mane has been one of the stars of the season so far, notching six goals and two assists in 12 Premier League outings, giving Liverpool a different dimension – and one which has made them title contenders.
Now, ESPN report that Tottenham were actually hoping to sign Mane, but lost out to Liverpool in the race to sign him, in a transfer miss that again highlights Spurs‘ wage structure problems.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is unwilling to pay players more than £100,000-a-week, with The Mirror reporting that such restrictions are causing problems in contract talks with star players Hugo Lloris and Harry Kane, who would surely earn well in excess of £100,000-a-week if they went elsewhere.
Liverpool’s Mane deal is allegedly seeing them pay him £130,000-a-week, which is some way above Tottenham’s highest earner, whilst ESPN add that Spurs also missed on Georginio Wijnaldum, who joined Liverpool too.
At £34m, Mane cost just £4m more than Tottenham’s deal for Moussa Sissoko, and whilst the London Evening Standard report that there’s an unusual structure to that particular deal, the respective deals show how Spurs were left lagging behind their Premier League rivals during the summer transfer window.
Sissoko has yet to register a goal or an assist whilst Mane has excelled at Liverpool, and it seems to have been Levy’s strict wage structure that cost Pochettino a realistic shot at landing Mane instead of Sissoko, which could have given Spurs the attacking spark they’ve been lacking this season
Levy either needs to re-assess his policy, or Tottenham will not only miss out on top players like Mane again, but they could also lose existing stars like Lloris and Kane in the future.