Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola says he is a fan of Southampton’s Sadio Mane but stopped short of suggesting the Bundesliga champions are interested in signing him.
The 23-year-old has been one of Southampton’s best players since arriving last year, prompting links with fellow Premier League club Manchester United in recent months.
Reports this week speculated that United could face competition from Bayern for Mane’s signature ahead of the January transfer window.
Despite injuries to the likes of Douglas Costa, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, Guardiola would not be drawn on the likelihood of a move for the forward.
“I know him from his time in Salzburg and I thought ‘wow’. He is quick, a good player, but I’m not talking about transfers, I am not responsible,” he told reporters.
Guardiola will be without Robben, Costa and David Alaba for Saturday’s trip to Borussia Monchengladbach, while Thiago Alacantara, Juan Bernat, Mario Gotze and Franck Ribery are also still sidelined.
Alaba is set to miss the remainder of the year with an ankle problem, while Costa has a chance to feature in the final game before the winter break against Hannover. Robben should be back in training next week after a calf issue.
“It’s too bad because they are important players, but we have other good players and we have to accept the situation,” Guardiola added.
“I hope that after the winter break, all are available again for when the important stage of the season arrives.
“[Robben] knows his body best and he has said that he is not fit for Saturday. Thiago is much better. We don’t want to take any risks, but maybe he comes back before the winter break.
“[Ribery] has trained very well in the past two days. We are very happy. He has no problems. He had nine months pain [with an ankle injury], and now he has no more pain. This makes us happy.
“I think it will be before the winter break when he comes back into the squad but I do not know when. He is in a good mood and laughing, this is the best news for me. He has lived through the same situation as Thiago, [Holger] Badstuber or Javi Martinez in the past.”