The deal is still not quite over the line, but it seems likely to end in the most predictable way — with a German international moving to Bayern Munich.
According to media reports in Germany and England, Manchester City winger is close to completing a €50 million ($55 million) move to the Bundesliga champions. German tabloid Bild reported that Sane was on his way to Munich on Wednesday and will complete his medical with the club on Thursday before inking a contract until 2025.
“There are some little issues, but it looks like he is going to go to Munich. We wish him all the best and thanks for our years together,” Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola, who coached Bayern from 2013 to 2016, told reporters on Wednesday.
Sane, 24, will join Joshua Kimmich, 25, Leon Goretzka, 25, Serge Gnabry, 24, and Niklas Süle, 24, in Bavaria, adding to a formidable core of German players approaching or in their prime. All were developed elsewhere, and most were purchased with their contracts running down or expired.
“Whenever Bayern shaped an era and was very successful, there was a strong group of German players who also controlled the atmosphere in the dressing room,” sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic told tabloid Sport Bild after the 1-0 win over Borussia Dortmund that all-but sealed their eighth successive title in May.
“It’s no coincidence that Joshua, Serge, Leon, Niklas play with us. They are the players who shape their generation.”
Club and country
While a couple of the emerging German generation ply their trade elsewhere — Julian Brandt at Borussia Dortmund, Timo Werner soon at Chelsea and Kai Havertz at Bayer Leverkusen for now — it’s increasingly clear that Bayern want to keep hoovering up the best German talent. But will that help the national team?
A new German generation is becoming ever-stronger at Bayern Munich
Recent history suggests it will. Of the 14 players who played in Germany’s World Cup final win in 2014, seven were contracted to Bayern, while Mats Hummels would join two years later and Miroslav Klose had played for the club for four years. Furthermore, the nucleus of that side had won the 2009 under-21 European Championship together.
The story was similar in the previous World Cup, with the Spain team made up almost entirely of players from Barcelona and Real Madrid. That side also won the Euros in 2008 and 2012.
International coaches have a limited window to work with their players, meaning that understanding, patterns of play and friendships developed with club sides have become important factors at tournaments. The French team that won in 2018 were an exception, with coach Didier Deschamps opting for a more defensive style to mask a slight lack of attacking cohesion.
With the coronavirus pandemic delaying the Euros until 2021 and elongated club seasons likely to mean fewer, or shorter, international breaks and potentially even less preparation time ahead of the tournament, shortcuts will become even handier for coaches like Joachim Löw.
Consistency in coaching styles
Though the Germany boss ruffled a few Bavarian feathers when he axed Boateng, Müller and Hummels (then at Bayern) from the national team after the sorry showing at Russia 2018, the fact that one of his former lieutenants with Die Mannschaft, Hansi Flick, is now in charge should help Löw’s cause further.
Flick’s success at Bayern may help his former boss impose a a similar style but it’s had a much more ominous effect on the rest of the Bundesliga. Bayern won the title at a canter and have the chance to complete yet another double in the German Cup final on Saturday. They’re among the favorites for the rearranged Champions League next month, too.
Hansi Flick and Joachim Löw won the 2014 World Cup together
Sane won’t be able to play in the truncated tournament in Lisbon, but, assuming he’s fully recovered from the knee injury that has seen him miss all but 11 minutes of City’s Premier League campaign, he looks a smart addition to a squad that’s already streets ahead of its domestic rivals. His pace and skill are clear but the wide forward is also direct, decisive and clinical, qualities current Bayern winger Kingsley Coman often lacks. He looks an upgrade and should dovetail well with Gnabry on the flanks.
Though Bayern may have to wait for Havertz — Leverkusen are reportedly keen to dig their heels in on the price tag — his contract expiration date of 2022 make him a textbook target for a club used to getting their own way in the German market. That looks to have remained the case despite the coronavirus pandemic.
“It will be difficult for the others to match us in the future because Bayern is well equipped for the future, even in this coronavirus crisis,” said former president Uli Hoeness recently.
Others can’t compete
Even Dortmund, who signed Belgian international Thomas Meunier on a free transfer last week, don’t seem able to countenance spending big on players in the current climate. The club reported a loss of €45 million ($50.5 million) to the stock market on Monday.
“What we are losing in income on all sides is dramatic,” Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said the following day, before adding that, as far as his club were concerned, “the transfer market is dead. We’re not planning any more transfers.”
While transfers don’t necessarily mean titles, it’s rarely advisable to stand still against a footballing force as strong as Bayern. The imminent addition of Sane seems likely to extend the frustration for non-Bayern Bundesliga fans. But it might just put a few smiles on some of those some faces during the Euros in July.
November 2, 2019 — It was a historic moment for the city of Berlin as Hertha and Union clashed in their first ever top-flight derby. Sebastian Polter clinched a tight 1-0 victory for the hosts, but the match was marred by ugly scenes in the stands. Hertha ultras launched fireworks onto the pitch and Union ultras attempted to storm the field.
November 3, 2019 — Bayern Munich looked in trouble following a 5-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchday 10. Off the title pace by four points, the club decided to part ways with under-fire coach Niko Kovac. It proved to be the right choice, as replacement Hansi Flick went unbeaten for 20 matches to seal an eighth straight Bundesliga title.
January 18, 2020 — The biggest transfer of the Bundesliga proved to be Borussia Dortmund’s capture of Erling Haaland. The 19-year-old Norwegian made an immediate impact off the bench as he netted a game-winning hat trick to hand Dortmund a 5-3 comeback victory over Augsburg. Haaland went on to score 13 goals in just 15 games.
February 11, 2020 — When Hertha Berlin appointed Jürgen Klinsmann as coach, not many saw the partnership ending well. Three wins in just ten games signaled his time in charge would be short, but no one predicted the chaotic nature of his departure. Klinsmannn announced he was leaving the club via Facebook, blindsiding his bosses and making a mockery of the club in the eyes of media and rival fans.
February 29, 2020 — These protests were about much more than just billionaire Hoffenheim owner Dietmar Hopp, who has cut a controversial figure in his bid to circumvent the Bundesliga’s 50+1 ownership rule. Several clubs voiced their opposition to the DFB, due to what they saw as a breach of trust in their relationship with fan groups. Bayern Munich’s game at Hoffenheim ended in farce.
March 13, 2020 — As COVID-19 spread across Europe and Germany, unprecedented lockdown measures were brought into society and the Bundesliga. Before the competition was suspended, however, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Cologne played the first Bundesliga game in front of no fans on March 11. It was the last game until football returned on May 16.
May 16, 2020 — There were mixed feelings among fans as the Bundesliga came back, but the DFL was adamant that the financial future of several clubs depended on a return. Games behind closed doors, known as ‘Geisterspiele’ in Germany, was the only way forward and overall it has proved a successful experiment. What’s the plan for the new season though? How long can football continue without fans?
May 26, 2020 — Heading into Matchday 28, there were just four points between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Der Klassiker was therefore a final chance for Dortmund to mount a serious challenge on Bayern’s title monopoly. But a Joshua Kimmich wondergoal and a controversial penalty call steered Bayern to a 1-0 win and all but ended any title race.
June 13, 2020 — Paderborn’s Klaus Gjasula not only suffered relegation with his club Paderborn, but the 30-year-old also copped a Bundesliga record not many would be proud to hold. Gjasula, playing in midfield, collected his 17th yellow card on Matchday 31 – the most any Bundesliga player has received in one single season.
June 16, 2020 — Bayern were pushed further than they have been in the past eight years, but still they did enough to seal yet another Bundesliga title. With two games to spare, they beat Werder Bremen 1-0 on Matchday 32 through a goal from who else but Robert Lewandowski. They finished the season with 13 straight victories, an incredible achievement.
June 30, 2020 — At 17 years and 34 days, Florian Wirtz became the league’s youngest ever goalscorer when he netted for Bayer Leverkusen against Bayern Munich on Matchday 30. He took the title from previous record holder Nuri Sahin, who scored for Dortmund at the age of 17 years and 82 days in 2005. With Kai Havertz’s future up the air, could Wirtz become Leverkusen’s next superstar?