Tyrone Marshall, senior football writer with Manchester Evening News, believes that Manchester City need to prioritise a replacement for the seemingly exit-bound Leroy Sane in the summer transfer window.
The 24-year-old winger has been strongly linked with a move to Bayern Munich (as per The Telegraph) and could well be on his way out of the Etihad Stadium, although the Premier League champions have not been able to call upon him since August after his cruciate ligament injury in the Community Shield.
In his Manchester Evening News column, Marshall pointed out that Pep Guardiola’s team have been less prolific this season without Sane to call upon and feels that some of his attacking team-mates have not had a telling impact in recent months.
He wrote that City have “lost a little of that unpredictability going forward…the Blues have conceded 11 more goals at this stage of the season than they had after 28 games of last season and have scored seven less.”
He added: “While [Riyad] Mahrez has improved this season Bernardo [Silva] has been well below his best, which has been a contributing factor to City’s struggles. At times Phil Foden has been used as a winger, but he doesn’t offer the same threat as Sane.
“Under Guardiola the Blues’ best days have tended to come with Sane and [Raheem] Sterling playing wide, stretching the play and giving defences a constant worry. Without Sane this season and with Sterling not at his best since December it’s been a worry that has reduced.”
Marshall concluded: “While a central defender is obviously going to be top of the list, signing a replacement for Sane if he does move to Bayern should also be a priority. The likelihood of that move happening looks to be growing again recently. City have had a dry run this season of life without Sane and they should have seen enough to target a similar player this summer.”
Has Leroy Sane been a massive loss for Manchester City this season?
The journalist makes a fair point about how much of a loss Sane has been to Manchester City’s attack this season and how they have effectively had a glimpse of a post-Sane future at the Etihad. The German winger contributed 16 goals and 18 assists last term, following on from 14 goals and 19 assists in 2017/18, so he was always going to leave a considerable void to fill after rupturing his ACL.
Sterling had been free-scoring from the left flank in the first half of the season but his goals dried up completely since the turn of the year (as per TransferMarkt), while occasional left-wing replacement Bernardo has had a modest return of seven goals and eight assists in 2019/20 and is not a natural in that position.
Manchester City have 68 goals in 28 league games so far this season, a return of 2.43 per game. Should they maintain that rate to the end of the campaign (assuming the Premier League is completed), they will end the term with 92 league goals – a reduction on last season’s total.
Sane would surely have been occupying the left-wing berth once Sterling’s form dipped during the winter and the statistics suggest that he has been badly missed this season. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Marshall feels a replacement for the winger, assuming he ends up at Bayern, should be a priority for Guardiola over the summer.
Man City fans, do you share Marshall’s opinion that a replacement for Sane is needed in the summer? Comment below with your views!
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