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Why Leroy Sane transfer fee is good business for Man City

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At first glance it looks like a bad bit of business for Manchester City.

A player on whom they slapped a £145million price tag a year ago will move to Bayern Munich in a deal worth around £55million.

And a year ago, the Bundesliga outfit were making noises which suggested they would not be budging above their £90million valuation of Leroy Sane, which left the two clubs a mile apart.

At that time, City held most of the aces, with Sane still having two years left on his contract and being offered a lucrative new one.

But the 12 months since then have not been an ordinary 12 months – not for Sane and not for the rest of us.

And to emerge from those 12 months with an £18million profit on a player who missed an entire season, and who was not Pep Guardiola’s first choice in any case, represents a decent bit of business.

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The cruciate ligament tear which Sane suffered in the Community Shield last August did not only cripple him for a long period, it also crippled City’s hopes of gaining a mega-money fee for the 24-year-old.

Sane was no use to City for the entirety of last season, and his injury meant his contract expiry moved 12 months closer – a double blow for the club.

It became increasingly apparent that Sane wanted to leave. As it turns out, Bayern were dangling a whopping £385,000 a week deal in front of him, which was twice what he was on at City.

No wonder he wanted to leave, especially as Raheem Sterling’s form last season had reduced him to the role of under-study.

The development of Phil Foden means no replacement is needed for Sane (Image: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The emergence of Riyad Mahrez as a front-line performer this season means Sane would have been squeezed even further, and he knew it.

The fact that City have no plans to spend any of the money to replace Sane tells a story in itself.

Phil Foden has been tried out in that role, with plenty of success, and with him, Mahrez, Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus all scrapping for those wide berths, there is already intense competition.

It was obvious that Sane would have to go – and City would have sold him last summer had he not got injured, and for a lot more money. The injury killed that possibility.

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It turned into a perfect storm for the Blues when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, bringing with it a financial depression which has hit football, forcing clubs to furlough staff and curtail spending plans.

City had to sell Sane in that climate, this summer, or he would simply run down his contract and leave for nothing next summer, leaving City with a useless, disgruntled player on their hands.

City will need the cash, not for a replacement, but to strengthen in other areas, notably at centre back – which has been a glaring weakness since Vincent Kompany left.

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A fortnight ago, Bayern sources were talking of them being fairly confident they could land Sane for around £35m, which would be £2m less than City paid Schalke for him four years ago.

There will be no huge fees paid this summer, with clubs still getting to grips with a world in which matchday income has been removed, and Uefa has had to suspend financial fair play rules as few clubs would pass them.

Some City fans have taken to social media to say City should have demanded twice as much, and held him to his contract when that demand was not met - which it would not have been.

That would have been a damaging and expensive point to make, and would have left the Blues short of the money needed to reconstruct other parts of the squad.

To get £44million up front, with add-ons of another £10million, for a player who was not in the strongest starting XI and who would have left for nothing a year down the line, is good business.


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