Bayern Munich have made no secret of their interest in Leroy Sane, who has impressed for both Manchester City and Germany. But how likely is a transfer to the Bundesliga and why exactly do the German champions want him?
"I'm going on holiday and then we'll see. That'll do for the Bayern questions, danke schön!"
Leroy Sane gave short shrift to the speculation over his future following Germany's 8-0 win over Estonia in Mainz on Tuesday, in which he scored the eighth. And no wonder; after two weeks of teasing and cajoling from his compatriots in the Nationalmannschaft, the Manchester City forward had probably heard enough.
"Of course I've spoken to him about it," admitted Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka, who played together with Sane during their time at Schalke. "He's a very good friend of mine and he would help us develop. I told him it wouldn't be a bad step for him."
Bayern's Joshua Kimmich was equally forthcoming, saying: "Of course he can come!" while Serge Gnabry told reporters that "Leroy would enrich Bayern."
Meanwhile, Julian Draxler, also a former Schalke teammate, spent the national team's training camp in Venlo in the Netherlands earlier this month whispering "mia san mia" to Sane at every opportunity – "we are who we are," Bayern's Bavarian marketing slogan.
Have Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich been using Germany's international meet-ups to convince Leroy Sané to join them in Munich?
The German champions have made no secret of their interest in the 23-year-old winger as they continue to reshape their squad following high-profile departures. After Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery ended their glittering careers in the Bavarian capital, and with coach Niko Kovac expected to play more attacking football in his second season, fresh impetus and younger legs are required in wide positions.
The Dutchman's berth on the right has already been filled by Gnabry but injuries to Kingsley Coman mean that Ribery's place on the left is still up for grabs, raising the prospect of Gnabry and Sane starting together in the Bundesliga as they have been doing for Germany.
The pair have been one of the most positive aspects of Joachim Löw's rebuild, 12 months on from the humiliation in Russia. Sane featured in nine of Germany's 10 internationals in the 2018-19 season after being left out of Löw's World Cup squad and has scored five goals in the last six, making him the team's most effective forward ahead of Gnabry (four) and Marco Reus (three).
Together, the three have formed a deadly trio. In the Bundesliga however, Sane wouldn't be lining up behind the Borussia Dortmund captain but rather Bayern talisman Robert Lewandowski, something the Polish hitman would gladly welcome after expressing a desire for backup.
Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sané have formed a deadly partnership for Germany. Could they soon be starting together for Bayern?
"It's better when you have the option of a second striker, for the team and for me," the 30-year-old told kicker magazine this week, hinting that he wouldn't mind a break every now and again after starting 33 of Bayern's 34 Bundesliga games last season and playing 90 minutes in 31 of them. "[Then I] can have a breather and watch from the sidelines and see how the team plays without me."
Of course, Sane wouldn't be a like-for-like replacement for Lewandowski, a position where Bayern struggle for backup. The only other out-and-out striker in the squad, Sandro Wagner, was sold in January while 18-year-old Fiete Arp arrives from Hamburg with huge potential but tender years. Timo Werner remains on the Bavarians' radar but the Bayern hierarchy consider the RB Leipzig forward to be more of a replacement for Thomas Müller in a role behind the striker.
Nevertheless, Lewandowski has been critical of Bayern's transfer policy in the past and has demanded bigger names, a criterium that Sane would certainly fulfil.
"The club knows that a new player has to be able to slot in and help right away," he said. "You can't give him two years to settle in."
Having netted 16 goals and assisted 18 more in 47 games in all competitions for Premier League winners City last season, Sane would be sure to hit the ground running – but there's still the issue of the 23-year-old's contract in Manchester, which runs until 2021. But Bayern have the money to prize him away – not that the Abu Dhabi-backed franchise need it.
"A transfer is always a three-way deal," insisted Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in Sportbild this week. "First, the player has to decide where he sees his future."
Here, Sane's family could play a role in his decision. His father Souleymane watched from the stands in Mainz as Sane hit the post and had two goals disallowed before finally getting on the scoresheet, but was unavailable for comment, although German media suspect that he and the rest of the family would prefer a return to Germany.
And in an unexpected twist, even David Beckham could have a say, Sane having allegedly sought advice from the Manchester United legend's management team – just the caliber of name that would please Lewandowski, but will it lead to anything?
"I don't know exactly what's coming," revealed the Pole. "But something is coming."
And that'll do for the Bayern questions for the time being, danke schön.