Manchester City’s recent win over an average Manchester United side was hardly a surprise. The first-half saw the side from the Blue half of the city stamp its authority in firm fashion. The 3-0 lead wasn’t the only reminder of the dominance. The way they were leaving United rattled was. Very few realised that the win came in the absence of a certain Leroy Sane.
Using the word ‘certain’ for Leroy Sane has become mandatory these days. He has become a rather forgotten figure for football fans and City fans alike. But the fact that City are still not facing too many attacking issues without him shows that even they, like everyone, have forgotten about him.
The serious knee injury isn’t the only reason. Sane’s exclusion from the German World Cup squad in 2018 was probably the starting point. Last season, he made only 21 starts in the Premier League, leading many to believe that maybe his head isn’t in it. Their fears came true in the summer when Bayern Munich came close to signing the Schalke youth product. Sane had reportedly given his approval to the move.
If not for his ACL injury in the FA Community Shield, Sane may well have been solving Bayern’s issues on the left-wing. But it wasn’t meant to be so.
Sane’s ability can never be doubted. Even in a total of 31 appearances last season, he had a hand in 20 goals. Ten of them were goals and the other ten were assists. Whenever he played, he made an impact. His ability to go past opposition full-backs was pretty much unparalleled.
But this season, Riyadh Mahrez has stepped up for City. In 17 appearances this season, the Algerian has had a hand in 11 goals. That as much as he could do in the whole of last season- seven goals and four assists. He has made up for Bernardo Silva not contributing as much as he did last season.
Raheem Sterling has found the net 11 times, assisting once. He has been the club’s regular player on the left-wing. He’s been fit throughout and it has played a role in City not missing Sane at all.
Sane is currently 23 and there is no guarantee of how good or bad he will after injury. Knee injuries have been a reason for the loss in quality of many players in the past. And at this age, it comes at an unfair time for Sane. But it comes at the perfect time for Man City.
Bayern got Ivan Perisic on loan from Inter- a move that can be made permanent. But Perisic’s age means that they will still be desperate for a younger left-winger. They’ve had a loan move for Wilfried Zaha rejected. Sane, being German, would have the priority once he comes back. Especially since he is 23 and yet to reach the peak of his powers.
And his value has easily gone over the £37 million City spent him on. But there are zero guarantees on his commitment and how the injury affects him. His current deal expires in the summer of 2021 and his value will go down following the summer of 2020.
The fee City get from him can easily be reinvested in someone like Mikel Oyarzabal. The Spaniard has been in fine form for Real Sociedad this season. He has a tally of seven goals and four assists in 20 La Liga games and is versatile enough to play on either side. He has already been linked to the Citizens as a potential Sane replacement.
Spanish players certainly have a unique admiration for Pep Guardiola. There is every chance Oyarzabal does too. Reinvesting the Sane money on him will keep the squad fresh and ticking. There will be more guarantee of success than how much of it is there with Sane.