Leroy Sane set for the Etihad exit door this summer

German international Leroy Sane looks set to end his four-year stay with Manchester City this summer, with a return to his homeland on the cards.

German champions Bayern Munich are reported to have agreed personal terms on a five-year contract with Sane, according to Sport Bild. The biggest stumbling block appears to be City’s valuation of the winger, with Bayern seemingly prepared to pay only half (€40m) of what Guardiola and co. believe Sane to be worth.

Sane’s desire to leave the Etihad for Munich certainly underlines a shift in how players perceive City at present. At the time of Sane’s signing, Europe’s elite players would have bitten off their arm to sign a long-term deal with Guardiola, but Liverpool’s growing dominance domestically has left City in the shade somewhat this season.

Commercially, City remain a force to be reckoned with off the field. Their brand is still in huge demand. Commercial revenues in 2018/19 totalled £227m, with the club keen to build on its arrangements with Nike and Etihad.

In recent years, it has also previously partnered with Betsafe, one of the UK’s leading sportsbooks and UK online slots sites which, in itself, has remained a strong commercial force with a range of football-themed slots such as Football Favourites and Football Star.

Meanwhile City also became the first EPL club to have sponsorship branding on their shrrt sleeves, thanks to a commercial deal with Nexen Tire in 2017.

POWER STRUGGLE: Will Bayern pay what City think Sane is worth? (image courtesy of Pixabay )

Sane has been linked with a move to Bayern for over 12 months. It’s been a frustrating last year for the speed merchant though, after sustaining a serious knee injury at the start of the 2019/20 campaign which ruled him out for the entire season. Nevertheless, Sane was a key figure in Pep Guardiola’s team in previous years and has certainly made a big impression with the City faithful since his £37m switch from Schalke 04 in the summer of 2016.

Sane will be a free agent next summer

The main issue for City is that Sane’s existing deal is due to expire next summer. With no prospect of a new contract being agreed with Sane and his representatives, City are in a tricky situation as they weigh up getting value for money this summer, or keeping him for another season and running the risk of him leaving on a free transfer next June. City have tried to tie Sane down to a longer-term deal at the Etihad, with the club confirming officials had made contact with the German’s agent at the end of last season.

One of the main reasons that Sane was reticent to agree to new terms last May was the fact that he played just one of City’s final seven games of the campaign, en-route to pipping Liverpool to the 2018/19 title. Guardiola has spoken privately and publicly about Sane being a vital part of his future plans for the team, but Sane may feel the time is right for another crack in his homeland having played just one-and-a-half seasons in the Bundesliga for Schalke.

A fee of €40m seems very unrealistic however, given that City paid a similar sum to sign Sane as a relatively raw 20-year-old. Providing City can secure a realistic profit that takes into account his importance to the team’s title successes in recent years, Guardiola is unlikely to want to stand in his way.

Image courtesy of Pixabay, with thanks.

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