Manchester City are believed to be in talks with Schalke over Leroy Sane, after reports the club have agreed personal terms with the player. He is an exciting young player and one that new manager Pep Guardiola will know a lot about, after managing in Germany for the last three years. Sane had a breakthrough season in the Bundesliga last year and managed to get into the Germany Euro 2016 squad as a result. He will have alerted the biggest clubs in the world and Manchester City are getting in there early to get one of the best young talents committed to their club.
Schalke have a great youth setup and their model is based on them selling their best academy graduates in order to fund their own transfer dealings. If they get more than £35m for Sane as reported, that will allow them to bring three or four quality players in of their own. Last summer, they managed to get £30m for Julian Draxler, while it is expected that Max Meyer will leave for a big fee in the next few years. The German club bought Breel Embolo this summer for more than £20m this summer and he is expected to develop into one of the best strikers in the world. He is another that is likely to be sold on for a big fee in the future.
The rebuilding job at Manchester City is huge and will certainly be the biggest test of Guardiola’s career to date. They have an ageing squad, and need to bring in three or four players with Sane’s profile this summer. He is young, talented and has lots of potential. The German is hungry and applies himself in the right way as shown by his development so far. He will benefit a lot from working with Guardiola and although he is far from the finished article, he could prove to be a vital part of the new era at the club.
He has only started 29 league games for Schalke in his career, which only goes to show how meteoric his rise has been. His relative lack of experience will be used as a bargaining chip in negotiations by City, to try and get a few million off the price. Although the wealth that City have, combined with the new television deal will mean that Schalke can play hardball to get the biggest fee possible for their young winger.
In terms of what he will bring to City, Sane is a right winger, who is direct, often looking to cut in onto his stronger left foot. He is also very good in the air, which is a bonus for a winger. Sane uses his strength and power to beat players, rather than relying on pace. The winger isn’t lightening fast, but he is no slouch either. Sane has a good vision and has made a number of assists from excellently weighted through balls. There is potential for him to form a good relationship with Sergio Aguero is he does join City.
At the age of 20 and with his inexperience, it isn’t a surprise that Sane is raw. He isn’t ready to be a regular at City yet and would be used in a squad role, while he gets used to English football. His decision making at times can be poor and he sometimes rushes in the final third. However, it is clear that he a player capable of changing a game, as he showed in the Euro 2016 semi final against France. He nearly scored with his very first touch and looked at home in such a big game.
Sane is a risk, and at a fee upwards of £30m there will be eyebrows raised. The German international is an exciting talent, and one that could develop into one of the world’s best under the right guidance. That is why a move to City appeals as he would get to work with Guardiola, who has done well in the past, taking players onto the world class level, Joshua Kimmich and Sergio Busquets being two great examples. City need three or four younger players to add energy to their squad, and Sane would be a good addition. Although he will be coming in for a big fee, fans need to manage their expectations and give him time to adjust. If they do, they could have a fine player on their hands in the coming years.