Manchester City’s seemingly never-ending Leroy Sané transfer saga seems to be finally coming to a head, with manager Pep Guardiola confirming his future departure. It’s time to move on.
With wild speculation for over a year at this point, following the Leroy Sané to Bayern Munich transfer saga has been frustrating to say the least. Conflicting reports throughout the year muddied the waters, but all recent news has pointed to the German’s departure to Bavaria, culminating in manager Pep Guardiola confirming the news yesterday.
"“Leroy said he doesn’t want to extend the contract so it means he wants to leave and it is going to happen this summer or when he is out of contract,” Guardiola said. “The club have talked to me, they’ve offered two or three times to extend his contract, he rejected so it means he wants to play in another club. If, at the end of this season, we arrive at an agreement with another club, he is going to leave. If not, he will stay one more year and leave when out of contract.”"
While this news is to be expected, eyes will continue to look for a replacement, and with defenders needed and a potentially cut-rate price for Sané, it could be difficult.
The ideal option would be the return of Jadon Sancho, who has reportedly told friends that he would be willing to come back to City after leaving the club as a youth player for Borussia Dortmund. However, this will be an extremely costly choice and one that may no longer be possible without getting Sané’s fair market value of at least £100 million, which seems to be off the table as City and Bayern negotiate a deal as low as £40-60 million.
More realistic, however, could be the promotion of Jayden Braaf, as the star youth academy prospect is questioning his own future at the club much like Sancho did 3 years ago. City would surely be looking to avoid repeating their mistakes, and could have a ready-made replacement who does not need the guaranteed starting minutes a transfer like Mikel Oyarzabal or Kingsley Coman would.
All in all, while Sané has been a good servant to Manchester City in the end, his noncommittal status betrayed the club, as he led both supporters and the board to believe that there was a chance for him to extend as a means to lower the negotiating price for frugal and efficient Bayern to swoop him on a discount.
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While for a long time I wanted to give Sané the benefit of the doubt, it now seems all too clear that his intention all along has been to leave, and City would surely have cashed in last summer had they known the game he was playing. It’s a truly bitter end for a player who was loved by fans and the team, but if that love is not reciprocated, the player needs to leave.
The question now must be asked as to whether he should feature again in the sky blue shirt. While he is a supreme talent, his only aim will be to not get injured ahead of his move, which will in all likelihood not lead to top performances. While he is a talented player, I believe Guardiola should simply cut his losses and bench the German until he departs while giving younger talents such as Braaf and Phil Foden meaningful minutes in dead-rubber Premier League matches.