It is an illustration of Manchester City’s attacking depth that Leroy Sane has yet to nail down a starting spot. The German international is regarded as one of the best wide men in the European game right now, but when City have to pick their strongest side Sane is often left on the peripheries.
The 23-year-old was even exiled from the first team at the start of last season leading to suggestions that Pep Guardiola has an issue with Sane’s attitude. This was just weeks after he had been forced to watch from afar as Germany took part in the 2018 World Cup. Sane, of course, was not picked by Joachim Low for the squad.
Indeed, there’s just something about Sane that leaves coaches unconvinced. He would be a starter for pretty much any other team in Europe, but at Man City Guardiola often turns to Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva and even Riyad Mahrez ahead of the German.
This has led to reports that Sane could leave the Etihad Stadium this summer, with Bayern Munich apparently leading the pursuit to sign the 23-year-old. The Bundesliga champions haven’t even been put off by the reported £90 million transfer fee City are demanding for the wide man. They see him as a future face of the club.
Sane would likely thrive at the Allianz Arena. Bayern Munich are going through a transition, particularly on the wings. Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben leaving the club at the end of last season. This means there would be a void for Sane to fill should he pitch up in Bavaria before the start of the season.
City could come to regret not making the most of Sane’s talent. Guardiola has swung back and forth on his public opinion of the German, like the time he underlined his quality on the wings while highlighting his unreadiness to play through the middle as a central attacker.
“He’s not ready to play in the middle now, you have to be so good to control the spaces,” Guardiola said at a point last season. “Maybe in the future. Sane is the best in the world playing out wide. I’d prefer to use him where he is strongest, he’s an incredible player. I’m not saying he can’t [play in middle] but at the moment we have better players to do that job.”
If Sane is truly the best wide player in the world in Guardiola’s mind then why is he so often left on the peripheries at Man City? The German would be harnessed at Bayern Munich. If that is an option that is open to him this summer he could be forgiven for finding it attractive.
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