With Pep Guardiola reportedly set to introduce a number of fresh faces to the Manchester City starting XI, the former Premier League champions’ midfield is likely to become a key area for improvement.
Yaya Toure, Fernandinho and fellow Brazilian international Fernando had occupied the centre of the park for the Blues in recent seasons – with 30-year-old David Silva interchanging with Ivorian teammate Toure in the number ten position.
However, the Manchester City supporters began to question their ageing squad under Manuel Pellegrini following a poor run of form in the closing weeks of the 2015/16 Premier League regime – which resulted in the club edging a tight battle for a fourth place Champions League spot over their city rivals Manchester United.
Fans will be hoping that Guardiola can use his renowned managerial prowess in luring world class talents to the Etihad, to follow the transfer of Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan – after he put pen-to-paper on a four-year contract worth a reported £20million earlier this month.
The latest rumours have suggested that 20-year-old Schalke starlet Leroy Sane, who had flourished in an attacking midfield role throughout the last Bundesliga season, is being targeted by the Blues to replace the likes of David Silva, Yaya Toure or even Jesus Navas in Pep Guardiola’s new system at the club.
Schalke’s new man-in-charge Markus Weinzierl is reportedly desperate to hold onto the young prospect, yet it is evident that the club are preparing themselves for offers from major European clubs following their successful pursuit of FC Basel’s Swiss forward Breel Embolo.
With an estimated value of £40million, Sane had made impactful appearances both from starting and substitute roles for his German club, despite being unable to lead them past a disappointing fifth place league position and inevitable Europa League qualification.
However, the young German national’s goal and assist contributions will make for promising statistics in the eyes of Manchester City fans. Registering nine goals and seven assists across all competitions during the 15/16 season, his attacking prowess has not shied in the slightest.
The 78% passing accuracy he boasted throughout the last Bundesliga campaign is thought to have impressed Guardiola and can be likened to the 25-year-old Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alacantara.
Accompanying his prosperous passing statistics, the fact that Leroy Sane had created a clear-cut chance in nearly all of his 33 appearances for Schalke last year makes him a suitable candidate to replace the evident deadwood in Manchester City’s attacking midfield options and introduce a new-look youthful Blues side under their reputable manager.
Aside from a central role, Guardiola may look to deploy the Schalke no.19 as an inside winger on the right side of his preferred 3-4-3 formation – a position that we witnessed Douglas Costa thrive in for Pep’s successive Bundesliga champions.
Although the left-footer often steers away from crossing, an aspect of Jesus Navas’ game that holds particular strength, the potential for intricate link-up play with Manchester City talisman Sergio Aguero and newcomer Kevin De Bruyne could make for a deadline forward partnership.
Sane is currently participating in the European Championships with tournament favourites Germany following selection after making only three senior appearances – but training amongst a handful of Premier League players such as Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mesut Ozil and Emre Can may persuade him to contemplate the move.
Whether Manchester City continue their rumoured interest in the young attacker, it is certain that he will remain in the back page headlines, with his £40million price tag likely to be triggered by a top European club in the near future.
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