By 90Min
May 18, 2019

If I was to have written this 12 months ago it would've been quite frankly ridiculed, and rightly so, due to the absurd notion that Manchester City would have to avoid the prospect parting with Leroy Sane.

The German international was pivotal in City's 2017/18 Premier League and Carabao Cup-winning campaign. He scored ten goals and provided 15 assists in the league alone, which resulted in him being named the PFA Young Player of the Year. 

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Yet it's not 2018. It's 2019, and Sane's most-recent campaign has been a confusing one to say the least, and one which has now led to him being linked with a stunning summer move to Bayern Munich

He was astonishingly omitted from Germany's World Cup squad that summer, as Die Mannschaft's limp efforts of retaining the trophy they won in 2014 suggested there simply had to be room for Sane on the plane. Yet it was the comments from Toni Kroos months after the event in Russia that pointed to a problem that has cropped up more than once.

"He has to improve his body language," said the Real Madrid midfielder. "He's a player who has everything you need to be a world class player but sometimes you have to tell him he has to perform better."

Those comments by the four-time Champions League winner carried more weight when Sane endured a slow start the season, which reached a low point when he was omitted from the City

squad for their Premier League game against Newcastle.

In the space of four months, Sane had gone from a major player in a side that accumulated a record 100 points in the Premier League, to an omission for both club and country with his attitude and demeanour now being scrutinised.

Due to the the impressive form of Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling - who won the PFA Young Player of the Year award this season - it became even more apparent that things can change in football very quickly, whether that be form, standing at a club, or perhaps a new club altogether. 

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It must be said that Sane's 2018/19 campaign was by no means a disappointment, because it most certainly wasn't. His league tally of ten goals and ten assists helped City become the first side since Manchester United in the late 2000s to retain the Premier League.

In terms of appearances, Sane was down one on last season's 32, but he did feature ten times of the bench this season, as opposed to only five in 2017/18. The 23-year-old has since had to become accustomed to the idea of rotation, but for someone that starred for the Citizens 12 months ago, it's one that doesn't come easily. 

One major plus for Sane this season came in the Champions League, with the 23-year-old significantly improving his numbers in Europe's elite club competition. After notching just two assists last season, Sane finished this campaign with four goals and four assists. 

Yes, City missed out on winning the competition, but for Sane, it proved he can cut it in the only competition they're yet to win since the arrival of Sheikh Mansour and his bottomless pockets in 2008.

Let's not forget as well that Sane has popped up with vital goals for a seemingly in fallible City side, none more so than the winner in their 2-1 win over Liverpool in January. Seeing the prospect of the Reds maintaining their seven-point lead, Sane injected more pace into an already-frenetic game, before squeezing his strike beyond Alisson to clinch a result that was so much more than three points.

Sane also grabbed the second in a 2-0 win against United at Old Trafford towards the end of the season in the game they now know they had to win on they way to retaining the Premier League title. 

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It's clear that Sane is a key member to this City squad for both now and the future. At 23, the levels he could reach in the future are a frightening prospect to behold, especially considering he's currently being managed by arguably the best coach in the world in Pep Guardiola.

The lure of Bayern Munich for any German player is likely to turn their head though, similarly to that of Juventus being interested in an Italian player. Die Roten's interest however stems from a need rather than a want. 

Despite being two games away from a league and cup double, the way the Bavarian rolled over against Liverpool in the Champions League had all the hallmarks of a side in desperate need of youth and pace. 

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Add to that the departures of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben at the end of the season, then a place in Bayern's starting lineup is almost assured, while the same cannot be said at City at the minute. 

Having signed Sane from Schalke in 2016 for £37m on a contract lasting until 2021, it would take an incredible offer to lure him away from the Etihad. And despite recent reports suggesting contract talks have stalled, Guardiola was adamant of what he wants. 

"You’re not going to extend his contract because you don’t want him," said Guardiola when asked about Sane's contract situation ahead of their FA Cup final against Watford.

To sell a player with the potential of Sane at 23 would defy everything that City are looking to build, which is an established force able to compete for major honours both domestically and in Europe. 

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