Manchester City are close to completing a £37M deal to sign Schalke 04 forward Leroy Sane this summer with manager Pep Guardiola looking to balance his attack with a pacey and skillful dribbler who can score goals on the right flank.
The German international has enjoyed a fantastic season in the German Bundesliga, and could well have a big part to play for the Sky Blues in his debut season. So what will he bring to the City attack?
Similar playing style to Raheem Sterling
Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling is regarded as a pacey dribbler who operates on the left-wing and cuts inside to score goals and make assists. Sane will provide a similar threat when he completes his move to the Etihad Stadium, which will likely mean City operate in a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 with the wide men given freedom to take up central areas when the side are in possession.
The 20-year-old scored and created 14 goals in 23 Bundesliga starts for Schalke 04 last season, making more than 90 success dribbles and creating 28 chances. With Jesus Navas struggling on the right flank for Manchester City, while the likes of Samir Nasri has been on the periphery for some time, Sane is likely to go straight into the starting eleven.
Guardiola’s identified ageing squad in need of youthful exuberance
Leroy Sane’s age is significant. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is clearly trying to inject more youth into an ageing squad. The Schalke man doesn’t turn 21 until January, and Everton defender John Stones – another target for the Sky Blues – is currently only 22 years of age too. City still have a lot of players in the eve of their careers who will be moved on in the next 12 months and a young core will replace them under Guardiola.
John Stones could be a mainstay when 30-year-old Vincent Kompany no longer commands a starting place. Leroy Sane will replace 30-year-old Jesus Navas and 29-year-old Samir Nasri.
Even Kevin De Bruyne was brought in to the Etihad Stadium in 2015 as an eventual replacement for 30-year-old David Silva, and he came just before the Guardiola era. It’s clear the club are universally agreed upon replenishing the side with youth, while gradually phasing out the ageing stars.
The Sky Blues have 15 players who are now 29 or above in the squad, and the new transfer policy of the club will likely see a much lower average age in the coming years. Man City are 5/2 to win the Premier League title this season. Will Sane be the difference?