To the theme tune of the famous TV show ‘Heartbeat’, thousands upon thousands of City fans packed inside the Etihad Stadium bellow out the name of a player I’d say is one of a few fan favourites – Leroy Sané.
Leroy, oh Leroy Sané, runs down the wing for me. That is, to put it lightly, if he can be bothered. I’ve had a bee in my bonnet over our German wonderkid this season and I’m going to share the thoughts that have been constantly bashing around in my head during the 90 minute thrill ride which is a Manchester City match.
So, strap in folks and hold on tight.
Where to start? Oh yes let’s start right around now. Leroy Sané has been locked in contract negotiations since the start of the season with the club as they again try to secure one of their major assets on a long term deal. I have said this for a while, but the way City handle contract negotiations is exemplary and Bernardo Silva and Aymeric Laporte are just recent examples off the conveyor belt of talent that the club have tied down for the future.
Despite the situation of Ilkay Gündogan still being up in the air (and Otamendi apparently starting to weigh up his options), I’d have thought Leroy Sané will be top of the priority list at the moment. The recent updates from discussions are that his Olympic athlete mother is becoming disruptive in talks. I would complain, but I feel like my Mum would be exactly the same and I’d assume she only has her son’s best interests at heart.
It’s just that his best interests are to stay with City and with Pep so if you can just… stop? That would be greatly appreciated.
That said, I fully expect the ‘Pep Factor’ to work its magic once again and we’ll no doubt be seeing his signature on the dotted line very soon.
So, whoever is reading this now, I’d like to ask you – what can Leroy Sané achieve in his career? If your answer is everything, I completely agree with you, but I also completely disagree. Confusing right? Hear me out.
Let’s start with why I agree. Watching a recent interview with his teammate Kevin De Bruyne, he described Sané as ‘elegant’ when he runs with the ball. For me, his speed matched with his beautiful control makes him one of the best in the world in a one on one situation. I absolutely adore when he shimmies left and right, weaving his way through defences before either firing a brilliant finish past the goalkeeper, or laying it on a plate for one of his teammates.
I’m sure I wasn’t the only one screaming at the TV for Leroy to be brought on the field when we were 2-1 down in our Champions League Round of 16 away leg against Sané’s old club Schalke in Germany. His introduction gave us instant rewards. With only 10 men on the field, he dispatched that free kick with such swagger in such a BIG moment that I can really only compare it to the world’s best performing under pressure. The ability to drag your team who, admit it, were flat on their feet, kicking and screaming back into a match that seemed all but lost. When he’s in that sort of mood, he’s absolutely unplayable.
It’s that key word of ‘mood’ that I’d like to base my next point on. After his magnificent performance in Germany, fans were pleading for Pep to give him his deserved start in the league. And to Guardiola’s credit, he did just that in our next game against West Ham. Operating on the left side, Sané had the chance to prove to Pep why he deserves to be one of the first names of the team sheet.
The issue was that his performance really did not do that and was in fact, the type of performance the man on the other wing that night, Riyad Mahrez, gets hounded for week in, week out. Lazy in possession, lazy out of possession. I was begging for him to stand up to Aaron Creswell and use his ability we all know he has to unlock what was a tight game for the Blues.
There’s this side to Sané which really does get on my nerves. A side which I think my Grandad summed up perfectly as his ‘not interested’ performance. And to me, we see it far too much for a player of his calibre.
Look, I know he’s only 23 and has such a bright future ahead of him. But his future could be simply stunning and for me, if he does decide to stay at City, he could one day be the first City player ever to win the Balon D’or. That is, if works as hard as he possible can. The lad has got everything he could possibly need to succeed – the perfect manager, the perfect set of team mates, the perfect skill set. I just need to see that determination from him to want to achieve that and then believe me, the sky is the limit.
He only needs to look over to the other wing and look at Raheem Sterling, who isn’t even at the peak of his powers but is the main man for both club and country. And how has that come about? From his sheer belief and determination that he can be one of the world’s best players. It is his hard work matched with his ability that shining through right now.
So what I’m trying to say is Leroy Sané has the ability to be one of the world’s greatest players. We can all see it. But whether he achieves that is down now to no one but himself.
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