Manuel Veth –
With Frank Ribéry and Arjen Robben leaving Bayern München the German record champions are looking to add a high profile attacking player to the squad. Linked with various names, including Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, Leroy Sané from Manchester City has now become the latest target for the Bavarians.
The Bayern bosses, in fact, have been quite open about their interest to sign Leroy Sané from ManCity. “I don’t have the exact numbers yet but the financial aspect will be critical,” President Uli Hoeneß said to Sport Bild. “The whole package is difficult.”
Whether the package can be financed remains to be seen. “That is Hasan’s job,” Bayern President Uli Hoeneß said to the Futbolgrad Network after the Bayern Amateure relegation match against Wolfsburg II. In other words, it will be up to Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić to come to terms with Manchester City.
Meanwhile, reports that Bayern had already seen a bit of €80 million rejected by ManCity have been exaggerated. Bayern and Manchester City are talking and much will depend on whether Leroy Sané will want to make the move back to Germany.
City and Pep Guardiola would like to keep him but also would let the 23-year-old national team player go for the right price. That price, without a doubt, would break Bayern’s record fee that they have paid for defender Lucas Hernández.
Leroy Sané – Players would welcome his addition
Internally, there is no doubt that Bayern players would welcome Sané’s arrival at Bayern. National teammate Serge Gnabry and French national team winger Kingsley Coman, in particular, have been outspoken about wanting to add more quality.
Even top talent Alphonso Davies, who would have to compete with Leroy Sané, Gnabry and Coman for just two positions was positive about a possible transfer.
“They see something in him,” Davies said to Pro Soccer USA. “They saw something in me. That is why they brought me in, and probably him,” the Canadian said. “Sané is a top-class winger playing for a top country. I can learn from him.”
Whether Bayern can ultimately land Leroy Sané remains to be seen. But there a good reason the existing squad players and the decision makers want to add another winger to the squad.
After all, both wingers missed two wingers. Gnabry had to sit out four games and Coman 13 games last season. Furthermore, they are the only two wingers in the squad with Ribéry and Robben leaving the club. Currently, Bayern have only Coman, Gnabry and Davies for two positions.
Furthermore, as outlined in a recent article on Forbes Niko Kovac will have further tactical possibilities with Sané in the lineup. In fact, Bundestrainer Joachim Löw started Gnabry and Leroy Sané on top of a 3-5-2 formation — in which both played as variable strikers — against the Netherlands.
The result was a 3-2 victory for Germany and highlighted that Leroy Sané is not only a useful weapon on the flank but also in the centre of the pitch. Furthermore, playing for Germany Leroy Sané has partnered with both Timo Werner, who is also linked with Bayern and Serge Gnabry in various tactical setups.
In fact, Leroy Sané — and the other wingers in the squad — could help should Robert Lewandowski go down with an injury. Even Werner would not be a direct replacement for Lewandowski and with flexible forwards, in the squad, it would be more difficult for opponents to figure out Bayern’s attacking plans ahead of a match.
Leroy Sané – By the numbers
But what would Leroy Sané add to Bayern in terms of numbers? There is no question that acquiring Sané from Manchester City would be a significant addition to Bayern’s forward line. The 23-year-old would rank fifth among Bayern’s current attacking players in terms of completed attacking actions per 90 minutes.
In 52 games with Manchester City and the German national team, Leroy Sané managed to complete 7.98 attacking actions. Only Coman (12.26), Ribéry (11.23), Davies (10.95), Robben (9.2) managed to complete more attacking actions per 90 minutes.
Those numbers also have to be taken into context. Davies spent some time in MLS and played for Bayern II. Meanwhile, Robben and Ribery often came off the bench. In fact, Sané’s numbers compare well with Serge Gnabry, who managed to complete 7.7 attacking actions per 90 minutes in his 45 games for Bayern and Germany this season.
What Bayern want to add, in particular, is a dribbler, a winger that can help Bayern define an era much like Ribéry and Robben have done in the last ten years.
In fact, before Robben completed Ribéry at Bayern in 2009 the Bavarian giants were not a club that defined itself play playing over the flanks — “the goal is at the centre of the pitch,” was a common phrase uttered by Franz Beckenbauer on television. Now, however, the flanks are the most important part of the club’s playing philosophy and it is here that the club wants to add the most depth.
What the club wants is a pure dribbler, who can score goals and contribute assists. In terms of dribblings, Leroy Sané would once again be among the top players with 7.78 dribbles per 90 minutes.
Only Davies (12.68), Coman (12.06), Ribéry (11.76) and Gnabry (7.98) have had more dribbles attempted this season. Sané completed 70.44% of his dribbles, which puts him in the same range as Robben (72.09%), Ribéry (73.21%) but significantly behind Kingsley Coman (76.1%).
In terms of what he would add in terms of goals and assists, Leroy Sané would add significantly to the squad, however. When it comes to goals Leroy Sané would be the second most productive player together with Robben for Bayern this season. The winger has scored 0.51 goals per 90 minutes, which ranks him behind Robert Lewandowski 0.78.
Meanwhile, in terms of assists, not a single player is ranked ahead of Manchester City’s speed demon. The 23-year-old has produced 0.34 assists per 90 minutes this season, which ranks him ahead of Colombian playmaker James Rodríguez (0.26) and Thomas Müller (0.25).
Hence, going by the numbers it is understandable why Bayern might be willing to break their transfer record once again. In Leroy Sané they would complete their attacking lineup by adding another young forward to an already exciting crop of prospects.
In fact, Sané, Coman, Gnabry and Davies, if managed the right way, could evolutionise Bayern’s wing play and define an era in a similar fashion to Ribéry and Robben. First, however, Bayern will have to convince ManCity and Pep Guardiola.
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.
How do you see an hypothethical approach from the Bavarians for Heung-Min-Soon. Do you think Bayern should be looking for him, since he had already played on Bundesliga?