Pundit tips exciting youngster who could ‘play for Manchester City right now’ to replace Sane
ESPN pundit Steve Nicol seems to be a huge fan of an exciting prospect that could yet turn out be a potential replacement for Manchester City’s Leroy Sane.
Sane has been attracting interest from Bayern Munich, with manager Niko Kovac reportedly stating he is “confident” of securing the German’s signature in an interview with ZDF Sport (via Sky Sports).
Meanwhile, City have been linked with recruiting Mikel Oyarzabal from Real Sociedad as his replacement – an idea which has gone down well with Nicol – as Spanish outlet AS reports that the club are willing to meet the youngster’s €75m (£68.8m) release clause.
Speaking on ESPN FC on his potential Eastlands move, Nicol spoke of Oyarzabal’s qualities – which included a slightly bizarre double-mention that the player is in fact a footballer, saying: “I think this is an absolutely Pep Guardiola player. This guy’s a footballer. He likes to attack, and you can stick him most places, to be quite honest. And I think he’d be a great signing.
“Obviously if Sane goes then he can fill in on that side, but you’ve also got Silva who’s going to be leaving 12 months’ time. And as I said, this guy’s a football player. The fact is, he can step in and play for Manchester City right now.”
While Oyarzabal’s profession does not seem up for debate, Nicol seemed to suggest that Manchester City should move for him even if Sane ends up staying – with the void of David Silva needing filling at the end of the upcoming campaign.
But with the finances City are able to outlay year-on-year, there is arguably no need to plan ahead of time while Silva sees out his tenth and final year at the club.
Judging by their previous spending exploits, with Pep Guardiola’s side spending north of £600m since his arrival in 2016, the club should be capable of hand-picking Silva’s replacement when that bridge needs to be crossed next summer.
As for Oyarzabal, investing in the 22-year-old who recently became a European champion with Spain’s Under-21 side could be a more potent replacement for Sane, with the Spaniard outscoring the City winger (albeit in a different league) in each of the past two seasons.
And while he may not have been able to muster up as many assists as Sane last season, registering two in La Liga compared to Sane’s 10 in the Premier League, he was still creating chances, averaging 1.2 key passes per game, which was just 0.1 lower than Sane’s average (via WhoScored).
Defensively, Oyarzabal also proved to be the slightly more proficient individual when it came to trying to win the ball back for his side. He made 1 tackle per game, which was more than what Sane averaged at 0.8, while he also just edged him when it came to interceptions with 0.4 to Sane’s 0.3.
Although perhaps that should be no surprise – as after all, he is a footballer.
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