Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Guardiola expects big things of £37million capture Sane

Leroy Sane: New City signing
The 20-year-old has completed his long-awaited move from Schalke to the Etihad where he will link up with a manager who knows how to get the best out of left-footed attackers

There is something about the way Leroy Sane controls the ball, turns and dribbles that is reminiscent of a certain Argentine No.10 at Barcelona or even a Dutch No.10 at Bayern Munich. Both Lionel Messi and Arjen Robben, predominantly left-footed like the young German, make it look as though they are men playing in children's games when they take possession of the ball on the right wing and cut ruthlessly through a helpless back-line. The tightness of the control, the closeness of the touch, the impact of the pass or shot that comes after, these are individual skills quarried by Pep Guardiola to build the foundations of his teams at Barca and Bayern.
Guardiola favours passing football, no doubt, but it would be remiss to say he has not relied on the individual qualities of Messi or Robben to bring his plans to bear. That instinctive dribbling play is fundamental to Pep's philosophy, not counter to it.
That is not to accuse him of having taken an easy ride and being bailed out by some of the best in the world. Guardiola not only shaped the collective successes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich, he made Messi and Robben better too.


Since taking up his position at Manchester City, Guardiola has begun the difficult process of overhauling the squad. Ilkay Gundogan will be a starter in midfield - fitness permitting - while Spain star Nolito brings options all over the front line.
City boast perhaps the strongest attack in the Premier League - even more so with the addition of German football's most promising prospect. It is not only a good move for the club - who can now choose from Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Nolito, Raheem Sterling and now Sane - but also for the player himself.


No coach could better coax out the superstar in Sane than Guardiola. No coach can better straighten out his deficiencies than Guardiola. No coach can could best point out the whys and wherefores of why a certain pass must be made or a certain option should be taken. This player is going to the top but he needs refinement. 
Sane endured a rough patch during the middle part of the season with Schalke. Nothing was going right and he was on a long streak of games without a goal or assist. Schalke coach Andre Breitenreiter took him out of the starting line-up; dropped him for four games straight. The last straw appeared to have been his contribution in the 2-1 defeat to Mainz in February. At 1-1 and with Schalke desperately in need of three points, Sane tried one complicated turn after another, surrendering possession to Mainz. A few seconds later, with Sane claiming a non-existent foul, the ball was in the back of the Schalke net. They finished three points outside the Champions League places.


It was an uneven season by Schalke, totally normal by their standards, but their unpredictability was reflected in the play of their young prospect. There were plenty of dribbles, goals, assists and breathtaking through balls but there were also misplaced passes, poor touches and decisions, and too many attacks that broke down at his feet. But with the right infrastructure and the right coach there is no limit to his potential.
The fee looks right for a player of his ability - around £37 million - and although the European Championship didn't go his way there is a lot more to come. What has been proven is that Pep Guardiola needs a player like Leroy Sane and a player like Leroy Sane needs Pep Guardiola.
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