KIT HOLDEN: Leroy Sane’s £50m move is one of Bayern Munich’s finest bargains… they have snapped up the heir to Arjen Robben for half the amount they were willing to pay and their awe-inspiring front-line means the future looks brighter than ever
- Bayern Munich are on the cusp of sealing the arrival of winger Leroy Sane
- They have had to be patient but have snapped him up for a cut-price £50m
- Bayern will be able to put together an awe-inspiring front-line next campaign
They have had to be patient, but on Wednesday it appeared that Bayern Munich finally got their man.
For over a year now, the German champions have been in lukewarm pursuit of Manchester City winger Leroy Sane.
Put on ice by his injury last summer, almost forgotten about in the midst of Bayern’s early-season crisis and finally rekindled by the coronavirus crisis, it has always been a question of when, not if, Sane’s move from Manchester to Munich would go ahead.
Leroy Sane is on the cusp of finally completing his long-mooted transfer to Bayern Munich
How Bayern could line-up next season when Sane joins, with an impressive starting line-up
It has also been a question of how, and most importantly for how much. And on that front, it seems that patience has paid off for Bayern. Sane is expected to arrive in Bavaria for his medical this week, with Bild and others reporting that he will cost less than £50million.
With the notable exception of Alphonso Davies, that may be one of the finest bargains that Bayern have negotiated in recent years. After a period of instability (at least by their standards), the German giants are now reassembling another golden generation, and Sane is the final piece of the jigsaw.
So important was that final piece, that Bayern were willing to shell out around £100m for Sane last summer. But the transfer was scuppered when the young German tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the Community Shield, just weeks before deadline day.
The deal to sign Sane – just £50m – represents one of Bayern’s finest bargains in years
The injury led Bayern to abort the move, opting instead to bring in Ivan Perisic and Philippe Coutinho on loan. Coutinho in particular sparked starry-eyed excitement in the German press, who noted breathlessly that he had inherited Arjen Robben’s No 10 shirt. Yet in truth, the Brazilian was always merely a placeholder, keeping the jersey warm for Robben’s real heir.
Not that the decision to plug the gap was the only option. Faced with an injured Sane, Bayern could have rekindled their interest in Timo Werner as an alternative long-term solution. Instead, they elected to sit tight and wait, driving a snubbed Werner eventually into the arms of Chelsea.
The gamble, providing Sane can return to his best form and fitness, appears to have paid off. It would be tasteless to describe a career-threatening injury as serendipitous, but Bayern’s bean counters might be thinking it privately. Not only have they paid less than half what they expected for Sane, but they have also reportedly not made him one of their top-earners.
The move – despite Sane’s injury – is another piece of the Bayern Munich jigsaw puzzle
For weeks now, that cut-price deal has been on the cards. ‘Having been willing to bid €120m, Bayern might now only have to pay €30 to 50m,’ wrote Michael Rummenigge, former Bayern striker and brother of club CEO Karl-Heinz back in April.
Alongside Sane’s injury, City’s Champions League ban and the coronavirus crisis would also push the winger’s value down, giving Bayern a stronger hand in negotiations, Rummenigge argued.
There was also the fact that Sane only had a year left on his contract and – perhaps most importantly of all – that he actively wanted to move to Bayern.
‘Bayern are the only German club Leroy would consider moving to,’ Sane’s agent Damir Smoljan told Bild in April, pointing out that his client was intent on winning the Champions League, and was better placed to do it at Bayern than elsewhere.
Sane has been out injured but his past displays for Germany have helped seal the move
Aside from his Champions League dreams, Sane may also have had personal reasons for snubbing City’s extension offers and setting his heart on Bayern. His daughter is now two-years-old, and the young winger is allegedly keen to raise her in his home country.
Bayern would also see Sane reunited with his football family. Prior to his injury, Sane’s mixed fortunes at City were in stark contrast to his brilliance for the national team. The Euro 2020 qualifying campaign saw him emerge as part of a formidable new attack, working seamlessly with the likes of Leon Goretzka and Serge Gnabry. In the dressing room, his peers did their utmost to convince him of a move to Bayern.
‘It’s no secret that I would love to play with Leroy. I’ve known him since we were in Year 5,’ Goretzka told Die Welt in May. ‘He’s a guy who you want to have with you in big games. What a lot of people forget is that he isn’t the kid he was at 19. He’s become a father and he’s taken the step abroad, which has made him more mature. In some ways he is further along than I am.’
Sane back playing in the Premier League from the bench after the season restarted
That entire generation of German talent is now hitting maturity, and many of them are doing so at Bayern. With Goretzka, Kimmich, Gnabry and Niklas Sule, the Munich giants are recreating what they once did with the likes of Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng, Manuel Neuer and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
In Sane, they now have the final piece. If their partnership in the national team is anything to go by, Gnabry and Sane could prove to be as devastating a pairing of wingers as Robben and Franck Ribery once were. Just as Robben and Ribery did, the duo will flank Muller and Robert Lewandowski next season to complete an awe-inspiring front line for the Bavarians.
Muller, Lewandowski, Gnabry and coach Hansi Flick are all now signed on until 2023, while Sane’s contract reportedly runs until 2025. If the last few years have been a muddle and a waiting game for Bayern, the future now looks brighter than ever.
Serge Gnabry will be on the opposite flank to help Bayern complete an awe-inspiring front-line
They will be either side of Robert Lewandowski, which will help fire Bayern to a bright future
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