Southampton manager Ronald Koeman confirmed after their 1-0 FA Cup win over Ipswich Town that Senegalese winger Saido Mane will be out 4-6 weeks with a calf injury.
The injury, suffered in Saints 2-0 win over Arsenal on New Years Day, will force Mane to miss the African Cup of Nations to be held this month in Equatorial Guinea. He was removed just three minutes before halftime in the match, indicating there clearly was a problem.
“I don’t know what happened exactly because after his first moment he continued but he had too much pain and we had to change him,” Koeman said in his postmatch press conference on Thursday. Today, he admitted the 22-year-old would need a spell on the sidelines.
Mane has had a roller coaster ride on the field this season, with electric performances punctuated by dull ones. He has four goals across 14 Premier League appearances with Southampton this year after arriving from Red Bull Salzburg in the summer.
The AFCON runs from January 17-February 8, and while he theoretically could return for the final stages should his country make it there, it’s likely in all parties’ interests to keep him out.
His replacement for Senegal could have been Demba Ba, who was dropped by manager Alain Giresse, but that’s unlikely after the hissy fit Ba threw upon being left out of the preliminary squad. Following the release of Giresse’s squad, Ba tweeted the following:
He then told media, “The coach called and said that I needed to rest and take care of my ankle. It feels strange to me as I am completely fit and able to play football. If Alain Giresse wanted to include me, he would have done so as he knows that my ankle is completely fine.”
Other candidates to replace Mane could
At the club level, new Southampton addition Eljero Elia will likely see time immediately after coming on loan from Werder Bremen.