Schalke winger Leroy Sane has been tipped as the next German wonder kid to progress through the club’s prestigious academy. Sane could be set to follow in the footsteps of Mesut Ozil, Manuel Neuer and Julian Draxler in becoming the next Bundesliga star.
NAME: Leroy Sane
HE’S A BIT LIKE: Raheem Sterling
Who is he?
Sane began his youth career at SG Wattenscheid before he made the switch to current club Schalke in 2005. He stayed with the club until 2008 before moving to Bayer Leverkusen until 2011. He eventually made the switch back to the Veltins Arena where he has been since.
The 20-year-old represented the club at youth level before making a substitute debut for the first-team against Stuttgart in 2014. He was handed a new three-year-deal with the club and given a chance in the first-team by then manager Roberto di Matteo. He was given his first start for the club against Hertha Berlin where he repaid his manager’s faith getting himself on the scoresheet.
Sane really drew attention following an exceptional performance against Real Madrid almost one year ago. Coming off the bench, the German netted a magnificent long-range strike and was arguably the best player on the pitch. He added another fantastic strike against Wolfsburg in April, slotting past the keeper following a 75-yard solo run.
Since his performance against Madrid, Sane has become a key player for Schalke this season. He has made 26 appearances for the Miners this term scoring five goals and assisting five more.
Style of Play
Sane is another versatile attacker capable of playing anyway across the front-line. Though primarily used as attacking midfielder current boss, Andre Breitenreiter, has also deployed the youngster as a striker alongside Dutch team-mate Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
The solo goal against Wolfsburg highlights his blistering pace and dribbling ability meaning he is a winger to be feared. Sane is also strong and powerful on the ball with his six-foot frame making him extremely effective in the final third. The German youth international has completed 67 take-ons this season which is the fourth highest amount in the Bundesliga. Sane has also completed more take-ons than the likes of Eden Hazard and Alexis Sanchez this season which further highlights his dribbling ability.
The 20-year-old is moulded very much like an old-school winger as he is always looking to beat his man and has the tendency to drift inside onto his favoured left foot. He displays a solid range of passing abilities and has registered more assists than the likes of Andre Schurrle and Marco Reus this season.
Moment of the Season
Sane scored his third goal is as many games in September following an explosive start to his season. After scoring the winning goal away to Stuttgart, the 20-year-old netted again against Frankfurt. He netted another crucial goal in the 60th minute against Hamburg which led Schalke to another victory.
“Leroy has yet to mature, but he has a way of playing that can make all the difference. He isn’t put off if things aren’t going as expected; even if he loses the ball, he can complete a well-run counter in the next moment. That shows the quality of our coaching staff, they have developed trust in him – and Leroy listens carefully.” – Sporting Director at Schalke, Horst Heldt.
Breitenreiter clearly feels that the forward is not yet ready for a big move but has the potential to play for the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona in the future.
He told Sport Bild, "I'm not thinking about selling Leroy to another club. I think it's too soon for him to move to a big club, he's still developing. We understand that this is the dream of every young player. It was always a dream of mine to play for Barcelona or Real Madrid. He'll have to choose between one and the other. He's in good hands here if he decides to stay. He can develop here and take the next step later.”
“It was always football for me. I look forward to every training session and game. There was nothing else for me and I didn’t want anything else.” - Leroy Sane
“My favourite meal is Penne Carbonara – that’s good for an athlete, right?” – Leroy Sane
Sane has attracted the attention of from some of the world’s biggest clubs but most notably from England.
As soon as Jurgen Klopp arrived at Liverpool, rumours began to circulate regarding a potential move for the German. Former manager, Brendan Rodgers, reportedly had a £15m bid for Sane rejected during his time with the club as Schalke were not willing to lose one of their prized assets on the cheap. Liverpool’s squad is severely lacking in width, which Sane would provide, giving Klopp a limited amount of options this season; Jordon Ibe is the only recognised wide-man currently with the club as Lazar Markovic remains on loan. Sane lends himself to Klopp’s fast-paced attacking style of play which was highlighted in his goal against Wolfsburg where he carried the ball from his own half to score. His price tag remains a potential stumbling block in any deal with Schalke determined not to lose out like they have done in the past as Mesut Ozil left the club for just £2.5m in 2008. If Liverpool miss out on Champions League football again this season, other clubs will have the advantage in the race for his signature.
Money would be no issue for Manchester City who are the front-runners to secure his services. Betting was suspended on the youngster moving to City in January but the move failed to materialise. With Pep Guardiola coming in the summer, don’t be surprised to see City re-kindle their interest. The Spaniard is a huge fan of the winger and stated: “Leroy is a huge talent and I can only congratulate Germany on having a talent like him.” City are reportedly willing to meet Sane’s £27.8 buyout clause this summer as they look to inject fresh talent into their squad ahead of Guardiola’s first campaign in charge.
Sane has also generated interest from Spain with both Madrid and Barcelona reportedly keeping tabs on his development whilst German second division side, RB Leipzig, who currently sit second in the 2.Bundesliga have also expressed an interest in German but would be unable to match the financial might of their competition.
If the development of Kingsley Coman under Guardiola is anything to go by, City’s interest in Sane should be an extremely exciting prospect for their fans and a worrying one for their Premier League rivals.
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