In an interview with German news portal T-Online, Bayern Munich legend Lothar Matthäus has hit out at marquee signing Leroy Sané. A few days back, former Germany international and Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann had similar words for the ex-Manchester City winger, bringing up his diva mentality in the conversation. Now, Matthäus has given his own take on Sané’s difficult start to life at his new club.
After years of struggle since Pep Guardiola’s departure, Frenchman Kingsley Coman has developed into the fearsome winger under the tutelage of coach Hansi Flick. Serge Gnabry, for all of his consistent intervals of inconsistent spells, is a goal scoring force and knows how to make his mark against big opponents. Above all, both have an acute understanding of their coach’s philosophy, unlike Sané.
“A regular would mean he has to get past Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry. The hurdle is high. Sané was injured for a long time,” Matthäus gave his explanation on why the 24-year-old hasn’t pinned down a place in Die Roten’s starting XI, so far.
“He has to get used to FC Bayern’s system, to the high and aggressive pressing.” Der Panzer pointed out. “He has deficits on the defensive side anyway. He has to work on that.”
Before Sané’s transfer, it was being widely reported that City coach Guardiola was unhappy with his defensive work rate during matches. In addition, his attitude in training was also called into question and this ultimately led to his benching at the start of 2018/2019 season, despite winning the PFA Young Player of the Year in the preceding one.
“That’s probably why he (Pep) let him go, because Sané doesn’t work backwards as he imagines,” Matthäus said, before adding that this is where his current competitors have an edge over him. “Unlike Serge Gnabry or Kingsley Coman, who had internalized the backward movement, Sané still has to learn.”
Another area that has raised many eyebrows is Sané’s maturity and consistency. One moment he shows his brilliance, the next he disappears and becomes a non-factor for his team. This particular aspect came in the spotlight in the Bavarians’ top-of-the-table clash against RB Leipzig, where the ex-Schalke man was able to show flashes of individual brilliance, but was largely poor in his 64-minute stint.
“The process is certainly not yet complete, although he has been around long enough,” Matthäus noted. “Actually, he deals with his disappointments differently than other players.”
When asked if the winger has an added pressure at the best club in the world, the 1990 Ballon d’Or winner remarked: “I don’t think the pressure was any less in Manchester. From there he should be used to how to deal with great pressure. But he has not yet taken the next step.”
That is a statement that echoes Don Jupp Heynckes, Dieter Hamman and many others’ views in the past.