Where Man City’s new man fits in the winger pecking order
Manchester City’s summer spending spree continued with the £37m acquisition of German winger Leroy Sane.
The 20-year-old became the club’s fifth new face during the off-season, penning a five-year contract on the back of an eight-goal, six-assist season with Schalke last term.
Sane is the third Pep Guardiola purchase that can operate out wide since the Spaniard started work at the Etihad Stadium.
Considering the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich tactician prefers to play in a 4-3-3 system, that is hardly a jaw-dropping revelation.
Nevertheless, that preference leaves Guardiola somewhat oversubscribed on the flanks wide.
On the assumption that City will forego the chance to play a number 10 behind a central striker, then there are as many eight players vying for two touchline-hugging spots.
Here we consider the pecking order of those width providers:
1 – Kevin de Bruyne
The Belgian largely split his debut season in Manchester between the right wing and attacking midfield last season.
He registered nine assists in the former position compared to just three centrally.
2 – Nolito
The sight of the recently acquired Spaniard ahead of Raheem Sterling may look curious, but Nolito is a bigger goal threat from the left than the England international.
He scored 11 times from that wing for Celta Vigo last season and has just enjoyed a productive European Championships for Spain this summer.
3 – Raheem Sterling
Although his numbers suggest his first campaign in sky blue was a solid one, with 11 goals scored and 10 assisted in all competitions, Sterling’s displays were far more frustrating than they let on.
4 – Leroy Sane
At just 20-years-old there shouldn’t be any pressure on Sane to be the team’s superstar right away.
He hasn’t played a minute of Premier League football and, as a result, could be well served with a gradual introduction.
The others – David Silva, Jesus Navas, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Samir Nasri
Silva doesn’t offer much of the pace out wide that Guardiola looks for, so could find a role in deeper midfield.
Navas and Nasri appear surplus to requirements in light of the recent arrivals, while 19-year-old Zinchenko is another youngster to develop.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.