Sadio Mane felt as though his Southampton team-mates did not want to pass to him or see him score goals, Victor Wanyama has revealed.
The Senegal international forward joined the Saints in the summer of 2014 and found the target on 25 occasions across 75 appearances – with that return including the Premier League’s quickest hat-trick.
His efforts on the south coast would earn him a high-profile switch to Liverpool in 2016, with Mane’s game having been taken to even greater heights at Anfield.
It could, however, have been that his return at Southampton was more impressive than it eventually turned out to be, with the 28-year-old accusing club colleagues of snubbing him.
Wanyama, who left St Mary’s Stadium for Tottenham in the same summer as Mane departed, told Madgoat TV: “We were like a family under one father [Mauricio] Pochettino, but Mane and I forged a bigger brotherhood bond. [Morgan] Schneiderlin was also a great friend.
“At one point, Mane approached me and told me, 'Hi man, these guys do not want to pass the ball to me, can the two of us play closely? They don't want me to score.' I reluctantly agreed and anytime I got the ball I would pass it to him though. I wanted to treat him right since he is a good and nice guy.”
While Mane has thrived since leaving Southampton, becoming a Champions League winner and Ballon d’Or contender at Liverpool, Wanyama’s career has taken a different path.
Injury struggles at Tottenham saw him slip down the pecking order before making a move to MLS side the Montreal Impact in March.
The Kenyan midfielder is now working under Arsenal legend Thierry Henry in Canada, but it could have been that he retraced his steps back to Celtic for a second spell with the Scottish champions.
Wanyama said of his struggles to get out of north London: “[Spurs] started to delay a lot of things, even Celtic, among many other teams, wanted to sign me but the club was taking me in circles until the deals collapsed, and the transfer windows closed.”
The combative 28-year-old was able to make just one appearance for Impact before football in America, and around the world, shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic.