Leroy Sane move could prove good business for Manchester City and Bayern Munich

City will be happy with the hefty transfer fee received in a pandemic economy, while Bayern could now be installed as early favourites for next season’s Champions League

The first reaction really ought to be one of sympathy for Bundesliga right-backs. The prospect of facing the turbo-charged left-sided pair of Alphonso Davies and Leroy Sane could prompt a sudden rush of suspicious injuries among defenders who spot Bayern Munich on the fixture list.

Sane’s impending transfer ranks among the least surprising of the summer, with the German champions renewing their interest a year after trying to sign him, and the most ominous.

Not merely for Bundesliga sides, either: Sane represents an upgrade on the borrowed pair of Ivan Perisic and Philippe Coutinho.

Now, along with Serge Gnabry, Bayern have two wingers capable of getting 20 goals. The transition from an older generation to a younger one has accelerated. They could be installed as early favourites for next season’s Champions League.

And yet Manchester City can reflect with some satisfaction on the deal they have struck. Selling Sane would have been more profitable last summer. In a pandemic economy, when he had a solitary year left on his contract and was determined to go, a fee rising to £55 million (Dh250.8m) represents good business.

“He wants to leave,” said manager Pep Guardiola, ahead of their Premier League game with newly-crowned champions Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday. “Everyone has his own life. I would love him to stay here but he decides to go because believes he will be happier.

"So I wish him all the best, give him a big, big thanks for these years together and wish him all the best for his new chapter at a fantastic club like Bayern Munich.”

The paradox is that, brilliant as Sane was for two years, Guardiola has said City do not necessarily need to buy to replace him.

In a sense, Sane’s cruciate ligament injury means they began life without him last August. These days, Raheem Sterling is seen largely as a left winger. Sane’s sidekick has become his successor.

City have evolved: from game-stretching width of players on their natural flanks, they now have inverted wingers, with the left-footers Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva cutting in from the right.

Mahrez has been the greatest beneficiary of Sane’s extended absence. His tallies of nine goals and eight assists in the Premier League put him on the brink of a Sane-esque feat.

Because while City have moved on, that should not detract from how devastatingly good Sane was in their two title-winning seasons.

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Bayern crowned Bundesliga champions

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Pace brings a visceral excitement but the German’s was allied with productivity. He did the double double: he was in double figures for Premier League goals and assists in both campaigns. Indeed, only Kevin de Bruyne created more goals in 2017-18.

Sterling’s transformation into a prolific scorer meant Sane tended to get second billing in City’s ‘SAS’, but they were catalysts in the emergence of the Premier League’s first centurions.

Sane’s first few months in Manchester were underwhelming, but it was fitting his first goal, in December 2016, came against Arsenal.

He was to prove a big-game player and Liverpool, who he tended to trouble, could be forgiven for feeling pleased he is going. The German’s goal against them in January 2019 ultimately proved the title decider. And yet, by then, there was the sense things were changing.

There was a spell in 2017-18 when City won 20 of the 21 games Sterling and Sane both started. They lost four of the last nine league matches they began together.

Unlike Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Gundogan, Sane never felt one of Guardiola’s disciples.

Certainly Joachim Low seemed to question his attitude when omitting him from Germany’s 2018 World Cup squad, a decision that proved to be a mistake. But a single-minded Sane has pursued his own path, spurning City’s offers of a new deal, and that route leads to Munich.

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