The German champions, who clinched their eighth consecutive Bundesliga title last week, are about to sign the 24-year-old Manchester City winger in a deal worth around €49 million.
According to the major news sources, the two-time Premier League champion is expected to complete his medical in Munich this week. City are also expected to receive an additional €11 million in add-ons from the German champions.
Bayern began their pursuit of the German winger last summer when Sane declined Manchester City’s offer to extend his current contract. However, the deal between the German and English champions at that time collapsed after Sane tore his ACL in the Community Shield against Liverpool back in August 2019. There was hope in Manchester City’s camp that a season-long injury will cool off the interest from the Bundesliga side, but City’s second attempt to convince Sane to stay failed again.
Since his ACL injury almost a year ago, the German international has managed only 11 minutes of Premier League football in the 2019/20 campaign. His only substitute appearance came in City’s 5-0 thrashing of Burnley last Monday.
Since his ACL injury almost a year ago, Leroy Sane has managed only 11 minutes of Premier League football in the 2019/20 campaign.
Sane was one of the first major signings of Pep Guardiola’s era in the summer of 2016 arriving from Schalke for €40 million. In the 2017/18 season, the pacey German winger was named the PFA Young Player of the Year and played a major part in Manchester City’s success that year.
Watch: Why Bayern is paying around €49 million + up to €11 million add ons for Leroy Sane
The competition Sane will face at Bayern
In December of 2018, Uli Hoeness confirmed that the club’s legendary duo of Robben and Ribery is set to leave the Bavarian capital at the end of that season. Immediately after, the stories began to escalate about the potential replacements. Unsurprisingly, Sane was the first name mentioned even though he was flourishing in the City shirt at that time.
With both Robben and Ribery no longer at the club, it would be wise to think that Sane has a guaranteed spot in Bayern’s starting XI with not much competition surrounding him. However, the old guards were replaced with a younger duo of Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry who have cemented their spot in the starting eleven this season. The message has been sent out to the most recent Bayern signing signalling that he will have to fight for his place more than ever.
In order to build a clearer picture of Bayern’s attacking trio, we might as well delve deeper into data analysis. The seasons of 2017/18 and 2018/19 were combined together and the average values were taken for the corresponding metrics of three players. Both Coman and Gnabry were selected for comparison due to the similarities in their playing positions (right and left-wingers) and style of play when compared to Sane.
Wingers or wide-forwards spend a lot of time in the opponent’s final third, therefore they can be regarded as the second biggest goal threat after the strikers. The correlation between the shots per game and xG (expected goals) per game metrics can show us just how big of a threat the player is to the opposing goal.
The scatter graph displayed below shows that Sane is a bigger goal threat than Coman but is behind the Frenchman’s teammate Gnabry. Over the last two seasons, Sane averaged 1.91 shots per game and an xG of 0.23 per game. Besides, the German winger scored on average 0.32 goals per game that indicates his good finishing ability since the goals scored value is higher than the expected goals one.
Every good winger needs to excel in one-on-one situations. Dribbling is the main metric for measuring how good the player is when taking on the opposing full-backs.
As can be seen in the graph below, Coman is an undisputed king of dribbling leading the way for both the number of dribbles performed per game and dribbling success. Speaking of Sane, the German winger on average performed 5 dribbles per game with 56% of them being successful. As the data tell us, Sane is a better dribbler than Gnabry but has not reached Coman’s level just yet.
Nonetheless, the best wingers are not just about individuality. The big asset to any attacking player’s game is the chance creation. The graph displayed below looks at the average number of key passes performed per game and how it correlates with the chance creation.
We can see that Sane on average performed fewer key passes per game than Gnabry but at the same time created as many chances as his fellow German international. Sane averaged 2.4 key passes per game in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons combined. Those 2.4 key passes were subsequently converted into an average of 1.1 chances created per game. In addition, 30% of those chances created ended up becoming an assist with Sane averaging a 0.33 assists per game which is more than Coman and Gnabry.
Finally, every wide player spends most of his time in wide areas, as the name implies. For this reason, crossing is of paramount importance for wingers as well. Below, we can look at the crosses per game and crossing accuracy metric. In this instance, Sane is behind both Gnabry and Coman if we talk about the efficiency ratio. Only 14.5% of Sane’s crosses reached its aimed target compared to Coman’s 26%. The fact that Bayern are the second most crossing team in the Bundesliga can be viewed as a slight concern regarding this metric.
Where will he fit in at Bayern?
In the seasons of 2017/18 and 2018/19, Sane made a total of 94 appearances for Manchester City. A staggering 91.5% of those appearances saw the German playing on a left-wing. In contrast, both Coman and Gnabry tend to swop between the left and right-wings rather often meaning that Sane will have at least two contestants for a single spot not forgetting the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Perisic as well.
However, Sane’s fixated position on the left when playing for Manchester City does not mean that the German winger cannot play on the right. In fact, he spent most of his time playing as a right-winger for Schalke before joining Guardiola at City. A predominantly left-footed player is a fantastic tool to have at Hans-Dieter Flick’s disposal. When playing on the left, Sane would be a complete out-and-out winger not cutting on to his right-foot but instead stretching the pitch as much as possible like he did at Manchester City. Conversely, when playing on the right, the two-time Premier League champion would be able to cut inside on to his stronger left-foot and allow Bayern’s right-back to make overlapping runs.
Nonetheless, there can be a slight problem in the name of Alphonso Davies. The Bayern Munich’s left-back has been an absolute revelation this season. The Canadian full-back possesses immense physicality and plays like a winger when Bayern are in possession. Consequently, the Bayern’s manager may have a hard time trying to fit in both Davies and Sane on the left-wing due to the incredible attacking nature of the Canadian left-back. Davies possesses similar attributes to the ones of Benjamin Mendy – the Manchester City left-back. When fit, both Mendy and Sane, almost never featured in the same starting line-up indicating the contradicting similarities of their playing styles.
Bayern may have a hard time trying to fit in both Davies and Sane on the left-wing due to the incredible attacking nature of the Canadian left-back.
Flick will be fully wary about the potential difficulties he may face when trying to fit in all the attacking talent that Bayern have, but one thing remains absolutely clear – the German champions have landed themselves an absolute bargain.