Saturday, September 19, 2020

Have Manchester City just signed Leroy Sane’s perfect replacement?

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Simply watching on this year as Liverpool snatched their Premier League crown with an 18-point buffer, it is no surprise Manchester City are looking to strengthen this summer.

Failing to replace former skipper and defensive talisman Vincent Kompany last year, Pep Guardiola’s side also bid a farewell to Leroy Sane who made the move to Bayern Munich in a deal that could rise to £54.8million last month.

On paper, it is expected to be a hectic summer at the Etihad.

Looking to get their business done early and prepare for the quick turnaround until the 2020/2021 campaign gets underway, the Sky Blues announced the arrival of exciting Valencia starlet Ferran Torres on a five-year deal in Manchester.

Have City found the perfect Sane replacement?

While Guardiola might have made it abundantly clear that he did not want to part ways with Leroy Sane this summer, the German international made it clear he had his heart set on a move back home.

Reluctantly letting the 24-year-old link up with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich last month, the former Barcelona boss made it clear that finding a replacement was a top priority for the now-former champions.

Announcing on Tuesday that they had agreed a deal with Valencia in the region of £24.5million for winger Ferran Torres, it appears that City’s boss might have snapped up his number one target.

While the Spanish outfit might have only limped to a ninth-place finish this season, the 20-year-old has gained a long list of admirers after scoring four times in 34 appearances during the 2019/2020 campaign.

Widely regarded to be one of Spain’s brightest young starlets, the U21 international has already racked up 100 appearances despite his tender age after bursting out of Valencia’s renowned academy.

Coming from the same breeding ground as the likes of recently departed City icon David Silva, Torres made his senior debut as a teenager during the 2017/2018 season.

Described as a ‘rising superstar’, City’s latest signing created nine ‘big’ chances this season, the 13th-highest across La Liga, while completing 54 take-ons, the 20th-most.

Speaking after he put pen to paper on a bumper five-year deal at the Etihad, Torres made it clear he is excited to start getting to work under his new boss.

“I am so happy to be joining City. Every player wants to be involved in attacking teams and Manchester City are one of the most attacking in world football.

“Pep (Guardiola) encourages a really open, aggressive style, which I love, and he is a manager with a proven track record of improving players. To have him overseeing my development is a dream.”

A defensive overhaul this summer?

While City might have managed to clinch Torres’ signature early on, few expect that will be the last we see of Guardiola’s side in this summer’s transfer window.

With their two-year Champions League ban controversially overturned last month, City could have quite the revolving door scenery going on over the coming months.

Looking to secure some much-needed defensive reinforcements, it was announced last week that the Sky Blues have had a £41million bid for Nathan Ake accepted by Bournemouth.

With the Cherries sacrificing their Premier League status this summer, the former Chelsea starlet is expected to sign a long-term deal in Manchester and an announcement will be made in the coming days.

While City appear to have won the race to Ake’s signature, Guardiola knows a real defensive shakeup is needed if they’re to mount a title reclaim and dethrone Liverpool next season.

With Arsenal still heavily linked with a move for misfit England international John Stones, City could also be looking to use Nicolas Otamendi and Oleksandr Zinchenko in a deal for Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly.

With the Senegal ace expected to leave Italy this summer, Guardiola has remained a long-term admirer of the 29-year-old central defender and he could see him as a potential replacement for former skipper Vincent Kompany.

Elsewhere, despite making the move from Barcelona’s youth ranks back in 2017, it appears that another one of their brightest youngsters could be feeling homesick.

With it being reported that the Spanish giants are extremely confident of bringing Eric Garcia back to the Nou Camp this summer, the departure of the 19-year-old would be a huge blow to Guardiola’s side.

Emerging as a real talent and starting seven of their 12 matches since the restart, Garcia currently only has a year remaining on his contract at City and it’s claimed that Barca are hoping to take advantage of that.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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