With rumors of Bayern Munich’s reported interest in winger Leroy Sané failing to cool off, City’s perfect replacement is a former academy star: Jadon Sancho.
The main transfer headline of Manchester City’s summer was the potential departure of Leroy Sané to German champions Bayern Munich. Although the saga took an unfortunate turn when Sané pulled up in City’s Community Shield victory with a serious knee injury that will keep him out for several months, it did ensure that his future would remain at the Etihad at least in the immediate term.
The rumors linking the winger to Bavaria, however, have not ceased. Most recently, Sané’s agent reportedly met with a Bayern club representative last week to discuss a potential move in the coming January transfer window, according to the Daily Mail. While the ideal scenario from a City perspective would be for the German to extend his contract and work his way back into Pep Guardiola’s starting XI, the club must realistically begin targeting replacements. Names such as Real Sociedad winger Mikel Oyarzabal were suggested in August, but in my opinion, the perfect replacement is a former City player: 19-year old Borussia Dortmund and England star Jadon Sancho.
Sancho has been heavily linked with a return to the Premier League after emerging as one of world football’s brightest young talents following his £7 million move from City in 2017. According to TalkSport, Sancho will return to English football in the summer as Dortmund prepare for his exit, with local rivals Manchester United leading the race to sign the winger.
However, various sources have reported that City have first refusal on any Premier League offer for the player, meaning Dortmund will give Guardiola the opportunity to match any bid for Sancho and leave the final decision to the player. The path to first team football in the wide positions remains extremely difficult given the scintillating form of Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, and Riyad Mahrez, but a potential Sané departure could clear the path for Sancho to return. The move could work financially due to the substantial transfer fee City would receive in return for Sané, while also clearing significant competition at Sancho’s position.
Sané’s boots would be difficult for any player to fill, as he has scored 25 goals and recorded 28 assists in 89 Premier League appearances, and at just 23 years old should be seen as a building block for City’s future. If City cannot convince the player to remain in Manchester, however, Sancho is the best like-for-like option.
Much like his German counterpart, Sancho is blessed with extreme pace and technical ability, but has also critically developed an eye for goal. While many young forwards are solid when dribbling, they typically struggle with developing any real end product, as seen with Nicolas Pépé at Arsenal and Christian Pulisic at Chelsea. This is not the case for Sancho.
While Sané’s tenure in the Bundesliga at Schalke was impressive and came with 11 goals and six assists in 46 league appearances before his move to City, Sancho has been even better with an incredible 16 goals and 23 assists in just seven more appearances.
The ideal solution in the Leroy Sané saga would be to convince the player to commit his future to the club. However, if this is impossible, City should return for their former academy starlet, and I firmly believe that the situation upon his return will be far different than the one Sancho left in 2017. Both Sané and Sancho were forged into complete forwards in the fires of the Bundesliga, and if City must lose their mercurial German star, Sancho is the man to fill his boots.