You might think that Liverpool's return to Premier League action after a three-month absence, in the Merseyside Derby no less, would be the news of Sunday morning, but in 2020 Transfer Gossip > Actual Football. So, here we are, reading headlines about a Sadio Mane-Kylian Mbappe swap deal (plus £200m).


Right, let's dig in, shall we?



What's Actually Been Reported Then?


An 'exclusive' from The Sun (first warning sign) on Sunday leads with Mane still not having signed a contract extension with Liverpool, while Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are, in true transfer gossip parlance, 'circling'.


It is said that Mane 'has yet to offer any indication' that he'll sign a new deal offered to him last year and that Jurgen Klopp is 'anxious'.


Even though Mane's current £150k-a-week deal runs until 2023, Liverpool are supposedly desperate to get the situation sorted one way or another and could even use PSG's interest to get a swap-deal for long-term object of Liverpool Twitter affection, Kylian Mbappe.


The Sun, presumably just picking numbers out of a hat at this point, say that Mane (and an extra £200m) could even figure in a swap deal for the French superstar forward.


That single sentence from the article has been picked up by most major football news sites, with varying levels of hyerbole and clickbait.



It's Nonsense, Isn't It?


Yes.


First of all (read in Sir Alex Ferguson, 'Lads, it's Tottenham' voice)... it's The Sun.


Secondly, although he may now be the most important element in Liverpool's world-class front three, Mane's contract is unlikely to be a serious source of concern for the Reds right now, running as it does for another three years, by which time the player will be 31.


There has been talk of a Liverpool wanting to add another couple of years to his deal for some time, though there appears to be no rush.


In April, James Pearce of the Athletic wrote that "the Anfield hierarchy are convinced that the Senegal international is happy and still sees his long-term future at the club."


Sadio Mane celebrating a goal for Liverpool

Mane himself has done little publicly to suggest he is sick of life at Anfield, either.


Obviously, players' attitudes can change for myriad reasons over time, but just last Autumn the forward is quoted as saying: "I am very happy to be part of this great club and I enjoy it.


“Hopefully I stay here forever. I’ve been to some clubs around the world, but Liverpool is unique. It’s like a family."


Addressing the Mbappe line specifically, it seems unlikely that Liverpool would be able to find £200m for a player (even one as brilliant as Mbappe) having pulled out of the race to sign £50m Timo Werner because of the cost, doesn't it?



Why Are People Taking it Seriously?


Been stuck inside too long? Lack of real transfer news stories? An over-prevalence in football media to present stuff as credible, even if it is not?



What Else Shouldn't I Believe?


Also this week, notorious Spanish gossipmongers El Gol Digital have Liverpool interested in fit-and-firing-again Marco Asensio, while Tuttomercatoweb have the Reds 'above all' in the race for Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly - two players whose transfer fees would at best be the same as the too-expensive Werner.


Go figure.


For more on Liverpool's actual priorities this summer, see here for a breakdown.