By 90Min
July 29, 2019

Bayern Munich's pursuit of Leroy Sane has recently been taken to the next level, and it appears as though Manchester City are preparing for the German's departure with a move for Real Sociedad star Mikel Oyarzabal.

City are thought to be ready to activate his €75m release clause to bring the 22-year-old to the Etihad Stadium this summer, as they look to win a third consecutive Premier League title. However, given he has spent his entire career with La Real, he doesn't exactly have the most global fan base.

Here are six things you need to know about Oyarzabal.


He Won't Leave Real Sociedad Easily

Aitor Alcalde/GettyImages

City might be willing to pay his release clause, but they still have to convince Oyarzabal to make the move. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done.

He signed a new contract back in 2018 to prove his loyalty to Real Sociedad, snubbing interest from Athletic Bilbao to continue at the club. He told the club's website: "I had no doubts. I want to make history at Real Sociedad."

City would likely offer him a huge wage packet, which just might convince Oyarzabal to leave this time around.


He Has Quietly Become One of La Liga's Finest

Oyarzabal is hardly a household name amongst fans across Europe, but he really should be. 

Once fans are done waxing lyrical about Lionel Messi and Luka Modric, many will tell you that Oyarzabal deserves to be recognised as one of La Liga's top talents. His impact isn't often clear on the stats sheet, but he knows how to leave his mark on the pitch.

A €75m move to City would still come as a surprise to some fans, but many would see it as a shrewd piece of business for the Citizens.


He's Terrifyingly Versatile

Versatility is key to the modern game. Players need to be able to play in a number of positions to maintain their place in the team sheet, and that's exactly what Oyarzabal does.

Primarily a left winger, he will happily drop into the centre of midfield to pick the ball up, and he will often pop up on the right or in the box to involve himself in the game. He is comfortable enough doing anything on the pitch, as long as he can get the ball at his feet.

This fluidity would work perfectly under Guardiola, who often wants his players to roam around the pitch to create space. That is exactly what Oyarzabal does.


He's Not the Fastest

It doesn't take a genius to spot Oyarzabal's biggest weakness. He's slow. Don't get me wrong, he's faster than a number of players in the world, but it's not exactly hard to find a defender who can beat him with ease.

In an out-and-out race on the wing, he can often be more of a hindrance than a help. Similarly, his use in counter-attacks is also practically non-existent.

Oyarzabal can still showcase the odd burst of speed, but fans never expect to see that from him. It's just not who he is.


He Uses His Intelligence to Beat Opponents

His legs may not be fast, but his mind is terrifyingly quick. 

During the earlier stages of his career, he combined training with studying for a business degree, and that natural intelligence is evident on the pitch as well. He can make the right decision before most players even realise there is a decision to be made, and he has the technical ability to pull off his ideas.

In games, he knows when to run and when to pass, and he boasts that typically Spanish sense of picturing passages of play three or four moves in advance. His brain is his greatest weapon.


He Loves a Long-Range Screamer

If intelligent play isn't your kind of thing, Oyarzabal still has plenty to get excited about. For many, his long-range shooting is one of his finest attributes.

Not only can the 22-year-old shoot with power, but he strikes a ball with near-perfect precision. If he wants the ball to nestle into the bottom-right corner, chances are it's going to nestle into the bottom-right corner. If a shot needs curl, he can curl it with ease. 

Technically, he is an incredible talent, and it seems just a matter of time before he takes his skills to one of Europe's biggest sides.

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