Leroy Sane has showed marked improvement in every season he’s played at Manchester City.
When he first signed for Manchester City in the summer of 2016, Leroy Sane was considered a relatively raw, but exciting young talent. Specifically, his pace, excellent dribbling technique, strength on the ball, and his vision, were very advanced for an under-21 player.
In the season before he signed for the club, Sane posted nine goals and seven assists across 42 appearances for Schalke in all competitions in 2015-16. This included eight goals and six assists in the Bundesliga in just 23 starts and ten substitute appearances.
Sane’s advanced stats were excellent as well. According to WhoScored.com, Sane posted a 7.10 form rating in his Bundesliga appearances, which was sixth best on the club, and a 7.33 rating in their Europa League games, good for third best on the team.
His breakout season didn’t just catch the eye of Manchester City and Pep Guardiola. Both Bayern Munich and Real Madrid were rumored to be after him before City closed the deal. Sane’s talent was seen as among the best of any player under the age of 21 at the time.
After he arrived at the club, Sane showed immediate promise and improvement. Sane spent most of the first half of the 2016-17 season injured, then as a sub, before he emerged as a regular starter in the second half of the season. His production, when given the chance, was incredible for an individual who was aged 20-21 in his first season in the Premier League.
Sane posted nine goals and eight assists across just 37 appearances in all competitions that season for City. His form rating was a 7.09 in the league, and 7.31 in his four UEFA Champions League appearances.
His emergence over the second half of the season was a welcome development. He seized the starting role on the wing away from one of City’s other signings that summer, Nolito, and kept it for the second half of the year. It was testament to his own advancement as a player that he was able to take a starting spot away from a veteran player who started off well at the club, and was considered a more natural fit for Guardiola’s style of play.
After producing numbers in 2016-17 that were just slightly better than his final season at Schalke, Sane reached an even higher level in 2017-18. Leroy Sane posted 14 goals and 19 assists in 49 appearances across all of City’s games last season.
His goals total in all competitions was fourth best on the team, behind only Sergio Aguero (30), Raheem Sterling (23), and Gabriel Jesus (17). His assists total was second only to the club’s player of the year, Kevin De Bruyne (21), and was five better than City’s creative maestro David Silva (14).
Sane’s production wasn’t just incredible by City’s insanely high standards. They were incredible by any metric. For example, Sane recorded 15 assists in the Premier League last season. That total was just one behind Kevin De Bruyne’s league-leading total of 16.
His form rating in the league (7.54), was the the eighth highest in the league, and fourth among wide players. Only Mohamed Salah, Eden Hazard, and Raheem Sterling had a higher form rating than him at that position. Sane did all of this while being just 21-22 years old.
Given his massive step up, Sane had put himself in the conversation as potentially being the best prospect under the age of 23 not named Kylian Mbappe.
How did Leroy Sane play, however, in the season that just passed?