German wonderkid Leroy Sane looks set to make the move from Shalke to Manchester City for approximately £35m. Where will Pep’s fourth major signing of the summer fit into the City team?
Sane is a predominantly left footed player capable of playing anywhere across a front 3. For Shalke he has mainly been used as a right winger cutting inside to great effect.
It is this position that Pep has him down for.
Pep Guardiola’s style of play
Thierry Henry did an excellent piece on Pep’s style of play in a Monday Night Football piece on Sky Sports. Henry mentions the 3 P’s that make up Guardiola’s philosophy.
Play, possession and position.
To see how Sane will fit in watch Henry’s discussion and compare them to the clips of Sane
You’ll see that Sane often holds his position wide on the left until the final 3rd being released to devastating effect, just as Henry describes Pep Guardiola’s demands.
At 20 years old Sane already plays to Pep’s demands and will only get better with the Spaniard’s coaching.
Who’s place will he take?
An admission: I like Jesus Navas. Watching City under Pellegrini the team, in my opinion, was better with him in the team than without. Navas created a structure to the team and just by staying out wide he created space for the likes of Silva and De Bruyne.
Navas got into position to create many chances and last season was one of the highest number of assists in the side (7 in the Prem league). His pace and willingness to track back was an asset in the team and his workrate helped Sagna (who for me was player of the season) on that right hand side.
However there is one glaring area where Navas fails.
In 33 Premier League games Jesus scored 0 goals!
For an attacking player in an attacking team that is not good enough (we scored more Premier League goals than anyone else!). Navas should be looking to score around 10 goals, the much derided Raheem Sterling scored 6 whilst Kevin De Bruyne scored 7 in a bad year for City.
Goal scoring is where Leroy Sane has a major edge over Jesus Navas. For a Shalke team, that only scored 51 goals finishing in 5th place last season, Sane scored 8 times, whilst also assisting 6 times (only one less than Navas).
Both players played a similar number of minutes last season, let’s see how they compared
• Successful Take-on’s: Navas 48, Sane 92Leroy Sane has been described as a dribble king and from these you can see why. Pep style of play is to build a team to create one on ones. Sane would fit perfectly into this.
• Shots: Navas 31, Sane 68
So Sane took more than twice as many shots as Navas last season. Not a major surprise as Navas seems to lack confidence in front of goal often passing rather than taking the shot.
• Passes: Navas 1267, Sane 615
An area where Navas destroys Sane! Maybe due to the team style, maybe due to Sane’s different style of play being more likely to dribble, take-on and shoot. Probably an area where he will change in a Pep Guardiola side which usually have a high level of possession and passes.
• Aerial duals won: Navas 9, Sane 27
Ok not an important stat for a winger but Sane is over 6ft tall so will improve a forward line of 5ft 8 Aguero and 5ft 7 Sterling.
Sane’s cost of around £35m will be frowned upon much as Raheem Sterling’s fee was (it is City after all – no one else spends money!). However recent reports suggest Navas could be back off to Sevilla for £15m.
If this was the case it could be a great bit of squad upgrade with swapping a 30 year old Navas for a 20 year old Sane who assists the same and scores a lot more for a net spend of £20m.
Txiki you’re not doing a bad job after all.
(Did I just say net spend? – I’m turning into an Arsenal fan!).
Learn more about Pep's tactics: Pep Guardiola: 3 books every Man City fan should read