Manchester City are eyeing up a move for Real Sociedad winger Mikel Oyarzabal if Leroy Sane is to depart the club this summer.
According to AS, Pep Guardiola has picked Oyarzabal to be the player that could replace the German winger, who has been heavily linked with a move to Bayern Munich as the Manchester Evening News report.
With a reported release clause of €75 million (£67.68 million), a move for Oyarzabal would eclipse the £62.8 million City paid for Rodri earlier in the summer (per the Guardian), the club’s current record signing.
Dubbed as ‘the next golden footballer out of the Basque Country’ by Breaking The Lines, Oyarzabal on the surface doesn’t seem like the type of winger that many would expect City to pick to replace Sane.
Indeed, Sane is often regarded as one of the Premier League’s fastest players, with the Sun reporting at the end of last season that the German international ranked fourth in the league’s quickest players, and pace isn’t exactly what Oyarzabal is known for.
Instead, the Spanish international has made great use of his technical quality and versatility in the attack during his time at Sociedad, as positional stats from Transfermarkt show Oyarzabal’s ability to play on both wings with ease as the 22-year-old hit 14 goals and assisted a further four for the La Liga side (per Transfermarkt).
This versatility is further proved in Total Football Analysis’ scout report on Oyarzabal, with heat maps from the past three seasons showing that the Spanish youngster can play all across the attack and use the space intelligently that is given to him.
Replacing Sane with Oyarzabal might seem like a left-field option for City fans, but given the winger’s versatility in the attack and his intelligence on the pitch, the Spanish youngster is seemingly meant to be a deliberate different option for Guardiola’s team next season.
Oyarzabal will provide something new to the City squad in terms of replacing the genuine pace of Sane if the club are to go through with signing him if the latter departs. Indeed, with the initial report stating that Guardiola has picked the Spaniard himself, it could be a sign of a turn in playing style for the Premier League holders.
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