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Pep Guardiola (suspiciously) optimistic about Leroy Sané’s return from injury

Is Sané actually fit, or is Pep once again rushing players back before they’re ready?

Liverpool v Man City - FA Community Shield Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

It’s only been five months since Leroy Sané injured his ACL in a meaningless FA Community Shield game between Liverpool and Manchester City, but Pep Guardiola claims that the German is just a few weeks away from making a comeback. Fans of Bayern Munich, however, will probably treat the assessment with some suspicion.

Speaking to the press, the Spaniard gave an update on his player’s injury situation (Manchester Evening News):

I think he is close. I spoke with him two days ago and he said to me he is training alone with the ball, he is doing incredibly well.

His knee looks really good so I don’t think it is going to take too much time to come back to train with us. I think in the next few weeks he can come back.

That would be great news, if this wasn’t Pep who was saying it. Guardiola is a manager who is notoriously guilty of rushing unfit players back from injury. He did it at Bayern, famously falling out with the club medical staff in the process, and there’s no reason to think his habits have changed since moving to England. A six month recovery timeline isn’t out of the question for an ACL, but most clubs would take it much more slowly with a prized player such as Sane.

Could the winger’s impending move to Bayern be the cause of the sped-up timeline? Sané was set to transfer to the German Rekordmeister last summer, but his transfer was ruined by the untimely setback. Rumors claim that he’s ready to complete the move in the coming summer transfer window, but nothing is set in stone at the moment.

Could City be looking to rush him back in order to squeeze more out of Bayern in July? Or is their situation in England (14 points behind league leaders Liverpool) so dire that they’re desperate enough to risk Sané’s knee? After all, he has reportedly rejected all attempts at extending his contract.

It’s strange, and after the debacle of last summer, there is no reason to take Guardiola or City at their word. In a perfect world, Bayern Munich would just buy the player this winter and keep him wrapped in bubble-wrap for as long as he needs. Unfortunately, unlike Lucas Hernandez, there’s no release clause that the Bavarians can trigger, so such a move isn’t feasible. We’ll have to hope that Sané resists the urge to make a quick comeback if his health demands it.

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