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Too good to be true? Leroy Sané’s move comes with the pressure to perform

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It took over a year, but Leroy Sané is ready to make his move to Bayern Munich. There will be pressure on him from day one.

Manchester City Training Session Photo by Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

Let’s get this out of the way, Manchester City’s Leroy Sané is player who most directly fit Bayern Munich’s immediate needs.

In addition, the talented 24-year-old winger saw his transfer price tag drop roughly €50 million to an extremely affordable (and frankly bargain basement price) over the past nine months thanks to an untimely ACL injury in an essentially meaningless Community Shield game last August (not Pep Guardiola’s best decision) and the emergence of everyone’s favorite pandemic, COVID-19.

What more, the whispers that Sané was going to be Bayern Munich’s highest paid player have subsided: his new salary is rumored to put him in the upper-echelon of the squad’s salary structure, but not necessarily wearing the crown as the biggest earner in Bayern’s egocentric locker room.

In every way that is conceivable at this time, Sané is the correct — and best — player for Bayern Munich to sign. The transaction, however, comes with an off-the-field cost for Sané and Bayern Munich alike.

Brazzo got his man

Doing his best Captain Ahab impression, Bayern Munich sporting director and newly minted executive board member Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidzic battled for over a year to harpoon his white whale. Judging by the reaction of many Bayern Munich fans, it was well worth it to be Moby Dick-ed around for the better part of a year now that the Bavarians are all but guaranteed to have Sane among their ranks for next season.

Manchester City Training Session
After over a year of speculation, it appears that Leroy Sane is finally on his way to Bayern Munich.
Photo by Matt McNulty - Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

A pacey, creative winger with a scoring touch and a flair to his game, Sané will likely be an upgrade over Bayern Munich’s existing wing options, Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman, when he returns to full strength. There is literally no reasonable fault that a right-minded person can find with this deal. But now comes the hard part for Sané: he has to prove his mettle and show Bayern Munich that his signing will live up to the expectations placed on it by nearly every fan of Die Roten.

Immediately, naysayers will point to how Sané will integrate with Coman and Gnabry, two young and skilled wingers that could start on most teams in Europe. Will the three be able to co-exist in harmony as Hansi Flick juggles their respective playing time and egos? There is no reason to doubt Flick’s personnel management and also no reason to think the three oft-injured players will be able to stay healthy for a complete season, which makes that potential issue less pertinent.

At wing, no amount of depth may be too much for Bayern Munich, which goes to show once again why this was a smart deal. Sané does not have to be Arjen Robben or Franck Ribery: he just has to be himself. That is what fans should count on.

Leave the questions about attitude at the door

While some doubters may cite Sané’s “diva-like” tendencies or “attitude problems,” there is no reason to think the Germany international is going to revive the FC Hollywood stigma that used to plague the Bavarians. Bayern Munich’s leadership structure is nothing if not stable and collaborative. In the odd chance that Sané exhibits any such behavior (he won’t), Bayern Munich is well-equipped to deal with any issue between its core group of team leaders and Flick.

FBL-EUR-C1-MAN CITY-TRAINING
Leroy Sane will be all smiles upon his arrival in Bavaria, but can he embrace the challenge that come with the lofty expectations that will be placed upon him?
Photo by JON SUPER/AFP via Getty Images

A more valid concern for some fans is that the club’s focus on procuring Sané has cost it an opportunity to pursue Chelsea’s new man Timo Werner and potentially Bayer Leverkusen ace Kai Havertz. Sané might not be as a good a scorer as Werner or have the raging potential of Havertz, but, again, it goes back to Sané being the “best fit” for this current iteration of the Bavarians’ roster.

On the flip side, because Sané came so cheap, Bayern Munich might actually have the capital to make a serious offer for Havertz either this summer or next. It would be the Brazzo-est of all Brazzo deals if getting Sané for a cut-rate price actually empowers Bayern Munich to also bring in Havertz.

At any rate, the negative accounts of Sané’s behavior are overblown at this stage of his career. Perhaps he made some mistakes in his younger days, but Sané has given no reason for anyone to doubt whether he will be as committed and team-oriented as so many others who have embraced the club’s Mia San Mia motto.

Pressure...pushing down on Sané

The real danger with Sané, however, is the massive amount of pressure that fans are going to put him under. Sané is not a savior, and he certainly does not guarantee a Champions League title. Sané is simply the best wing player available and a player who should be able to compliment Bayern Munich’s existing core and overall lineup.

Can fans be patient with Sané as he acclimates to a new squad and surroundings, or will he succumb to the weight on his shoulders and force things on the pitch? Only time will reveal the answer to that question, but it is best that fans temper expectations and simply be excited that Bayern Munich has added an extremely talented and valuable piece to the puzzle in hopes of strengthening the next evolution of the Bavarian roster.

Whether Sané or Bayern Munich like it or not, the year-long wait and heaping scoopfuls of anticipation for the player have created a frenzy. Let’s hope that Sané embraces that challenge and experiences success. If not, the vultures will be circling and just waiting to pick apart a move that — on the surface — looks just about perfect.