The Wonderkid Turned Superstar
Ever since his Champions League performance against Real Madrid for boyhood club Schalke in 2015, Leroy Sané has seemed destined for the top. Since then, Sané moved to Manchester City in 2016, where manager Pep Guardiola has turned him into an excellent system left winger. In his last two full campaigns, the German has produced formidable output, with 10 goals and 17 assists in 2017/18 followed by 14 goals and 14 assists in 2018/19. Unfortunately, this great run of form was halted abruptly with a devastating ACL injury in the 2019 Community Shield, which has seen him sidelined for the entirety 2019/20 season. Only recently has he returned to training.
Despite Leroy’s injury-plagued campaign, news reports have repeatedly linked the 24-year-old with a move to German giants Bayern Munich. Speculation began after Sané’s impressive showings for Germany after the 2018 World Cup (where he was cruelly left out of the squad). In 7 games in Euro qualifying and in the UEFA Nations League, Sané managed 5 goal contributions, playing alongside Bayern star Serge Gnabry.
Now, in the midst of both a pandemic and Sané’s return to action, the rumor mill begins to turn again. Bayern have reportedly agreed personal terms with the player, as of today (B/R Football, Sports Illustrated). While some say he is not ready for the big move yet, other reports say Bayern have offered somewhere around £60 million to Manchester City.
Limited under Pep?
Guardiola has repeatedly refused to comment on reports linking Sané to Bayern for the past few months, but reportedly wants the winger to stay. That being said, he has stated that the Leroy’s future lies in his own hands. Pep seemingly just wants his player to be happy.
Thinking about the potential front three of Lewandowski, Gnabry, and Sané is mouth-watering. Sané, as the recent news tells us, might be licking his chops at this opportunity. Sané has been painted strictly as a left-sided, left-footed midfielder/winger, one that may seem one-dimensional. Some say he is a product of Guardiola’s system, one that used to see Thierry Henry forced to hug the touchline during Pep’s Barça days. While he has probably benefited a great amount from the Spaniard’s tactical genius, there is something to be said about the true talent of Leroy Sané.
In competitive matches stretching from September 2018 to June 2019, Germany either deployed a front two or a 3-4-3, with Sané starting at either right- or left-forward. Sané showed his goalscoring prowess and striker’s instinct fairly consistently, cutting in from the right or making smart runs when Nico Schulz overlapped him.
These performances gave us a glimpse of Leroy Sané’s versatility, meaning Bayern are clearly willing to gamble on potentially deploying him on the right (despite only being truly proven on the left). A move for Sané would another dangerous weapon to Bayern’s already loaded artillery.
What a Bayern Move Means for Leroy, but More Importantly, for Manchester City
If Sané were to move to Bayern, it would come with critics awaiting his failure. A big payday means he’d have something to prove. It’s never easy to adapt to new surroundings. Sané is still young, and has potential to take the leap towards becoming world class. We can only hope his injury doesn’t reduce his level of athleticism.
Losing Sané would obviously be a big loss for Manchester City, but would it be a blessing in disguise? It could potentially allow the club to enter the race for Jadon Sancho, whom they allowed to leave for Dortmund a few summers ago. A Pogba-like return to Manchester could become more appealing than transfers to United, Chelsea, and Liverpool.
Whatever happens with Leroy Sané, the football world only wishes him the strongest of returns. Only time will tell!