Grading Leroy Sane’s transfer to Manchester City
Leroy Sane is officially a Manchester City player, joining from Schalke 04 for a fee of approximately £37 million plus add-ons, signing a 5-year contract. At just 20 years of age, Manchester City have gotten an electrifying young player whose ceiling is nowhere in sight.
Sane made his Schalke 04 debut in 2014, but really made a name for himself last season as he scored nine goals and added seven assists for the German club, earning a call-up to Joachim Low’s Euro 2016 team. Despite only playing 11 minutes during the competition, Sane is viewed as one of Germany’s brightest prospects, and Low spoke glowingly of the young winger before the start of the tournament: “Leroy has an amazing ability to exploit open spaces. With his pace and his finishing, he is a player with a special gift.”
Often compared in style with Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and even Lionel Messi, Sane is a powerful, two-footed attacker blessed with searing pace and fantastic dribbling ability. An intelligent, technical player, Sane thrives when going at defenders one-vs-one. His versatility and direct mentality will provide Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City with an added dimension to complement fellow playmakers Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, et al.
Sane ranked fifth for most attempted dribbles per game in the Bundesliga last season with 2.8 per game, but scored and assisted more goals than any of those players ranked above him — including Bayern Munich’s dynamic duo Kingsley Coman and Douglas Costa.
With his immense talent, Sane has the understandable tendency to take matters into his own hands, and will likely need an adjustment period to settle into his role in Pep Guardiola’s fluid, team-based possession tactics. Guardiola has always shown a preference for dynamic, direct players who can open up the game with their ability with the ball at their feet though, and in Sane and Raheem Sterling, Guardiola has a pair of talented young attackers who can do just that.
Manchester City have added another one of world football’s brightest young talents to their ranks, and Pep Guardiola will be overjoyed to have finally gotten his man. Not only do the Citizens get a player with fantastic potential, they get an incredibly talented and versatile young attacker who can slot in any number of roles.