Jurgen Klopp's interest in Leroy Sane goes back to before 2016

Liverpool have made Leroy Sane their 'number one' transfer target to replace Mohamed Salah, according to one report.

On Saturday, the Mirror claimed that the Reds would even be willing to break their own transfer record to land the Germany international.

The former Manchester City star has started the 2023/24 season in fine form, scoring seven times in 11 games for Bayern Munich and has less than two years to run on his contract.

It is claimed that Liverpool may not be able to resist selling Salah to the Saudi Pro League next summer when his contract enters its final year and could use a big-money sale to finance a deal for Sane – who is also being tracked by Real Madrid.

It's not the first time Sane has been mentioned as a target for Liverpool in recent weeks.

There are plenty of reasons to doubt the rumour; there's little logic in the Reds intending to 'smash' their transfer record (currently at £85m) for a player with a year left on his contract and, as he turns 28 in January, Sane is also older than a typical big-money FSG signing. However, there are also factors that make it more credible.

READ MORE: Liverpool's most expensive transfers of all time

Jurgen Klopp is a known admirer of Sane, having made appreciative comments in the press about the pacey winger before.

Jurgen Klopp's history with Leroy Sane

Meanwhile, back in 2018, the player himself told the Guardian that he spoke to the Liverpool boss about a transfer from Schalke before ultimately moving to City.

“Yes, I was also talking with them,” Sane revealed. “Jürgen was calling me too, talking to me. That was before I joined City. He did a good job at [Borussia] Dortmund – I met him when he was there. He’s a good guy, nice guy – honest. He [has] worked well with Liverpool.”

In the summer of 2016 when Sane joined City for £37m, Liverpool landed Sadio Mane from Southampton for around £34m. The Senegalese winger became the first big signing of the Klopp era and famously went on to score 120 goals and achieve legendary status at Anfield, before departing in 2022.

And of course, the following summer, the Reds signed Mohamed Salah.

However, Klopp's personal interest in Sane dates back even further than 2016.

In the same Guardian interview, Sane noted that he had the chance to join Dortmund under Klopp when he was still an academy star.

He added: "There was a time when I was still in the academy that I could have gone there [to Dortmund] from Schalke but there was no thoughts at all to move to a rival."

Sane initially joined Schalke's academy in 2005, leaving to spend three at Bayer Leverkusen in 2008. However, he returned to the Gelsenkirchen club in 2011, eventually making his first-team debut as an 18 year old late in the 2013/14 season.

Klopp spent seven years at Dortmund head coach between 2008 and 2015.

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