Manchester City confirmed on Friday that Leroy Sane has left the club, joining Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich for a fee said to be around £55 million. Attention will surely now turn to who Pep Guardiola recruits as Leroy Sane’s replacement.
Sane’s departure has been on the cards for some time. The Germany winger was close to joining Bayern last year but, despite his injury issues, he leaves a huge hole in the City squad.
Pep Guardiola is expected to splash the cash again in order to catch up Liverpool after they romped to this season’s Premier League title, ending two years of City dominance. Here are five attackers that City might target in order to become Leroy Sane’s replacement.
Five candidates to become Leroy Sane’s replacement
Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
Also courted by Manchester United, one of the most in-demand players this summer is bound to be Jadon Sancho who has thrived since leaving City for Borussia Dortmund. That decision was a risk for the youngster but it has paid off handsomely, Sancho becoming one of the hottest properties in Europe and forcing his way into the England team.
Sancho is being linked with most elite European teams but Guardiola has ruled out bringing him back to the Etihad. It does, however, seem to be a move that would make sense for City given the impending departure of club icon David Silva, even if Guardiola does not think so.
“When he decided to move to Dortmund it’s not because he is going to decide to come back one year later,” Guardiola said recently. “It would make no sense. He didn’t want to be here, so that is why I think he doesn’t want to come back here.”
Managers have certainly ruled out signing players before bringing them in later anyway, so Guardiola’s comments might need to be taken with a rather large pinch of salt.
Leon Bailey (Bayer Leverkusen)
Staying in the Bundesliga, City have been linked with Bayer Leverkusen star Leon Bailey for a while. They signed Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City instead when they were first said to be interested but this could be the right time for the club to make their move.
Bailey can play on either wing, so his versatility could appeal to Guardiola, while he contributed five goals and three assists in the Bundesliga this season. A brace in a famous win over Guardiola’s old club Bayern drew more attention to Bailey at the end of 2019.
The 22-year-old might be looking to leave after Leverkusen missed out on qualification for the Champions League on the last day of the season, while Bayern beat them in the cup final and he could be a good option as Leroy Sane’s replacement.
Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)
Another player who has been linked with City’s rivals United is Jack Grealish but could the Aston Villa captain make the move to the Etihad Stadium instead as Leroy Sane’s replacement?
Grealish can operate both centrally and from the flank, which could appeal to Guardiola, while his willingness to take responsibility for building attacks is another tick in the box.
But some recent off-the-field issues have suggested Grealish lacks the mentality to play for a top club at this stage of his career, though the 24-year-old still has plenty of time to develop.
With seven goals and six assists for struggling Villa this term, Grealish has certainly made his mark on his return to the Premier League. He seems certain to leave the club this year.
Ferran Torres (Valencia)
We head to Spain for our next option, with Valencia star Ferran Torres having been one of the top young players in La Liga so far this season.
The 20-year-old has provided four goals and a further four assists in the league, while he also thrived in the Champions League with another four goal involvements.
Torres typically operates from the right wing but Guardiola has plenty of options for the left, with Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling both capable of playing on that side, as well as Phil Foden.
United and Juventus are said to want Torres, so City might have to move quickly on this one.
Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad)
Lastly, another La Liga hotshot who is a decent candidate to become Leroy Sane’s replacement is Mikel Oyarzabal, a player who would certainly help to replace Sane’s goal threat.
Along with the nine times Oyarzabal has found the net for Real Sociedad in the league this season, the 23-year-old has also provided nine assists for his team-mates.
Oyarzabal was also one of the stars of the show at the 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, where he helped Spain to lift the trophy.
Despite his undoubted quality, Oyarzabal’s current contract has a £68million release clause. Should City make him their replacement for Sane?
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