Opinion: Sane seeks spotlight, but has he gone too soon? | Opinion | DW | 01.08.2016
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Opinion: Sane seeks spotlight, but has he gone too soon?

Leroy Sane's long awaited move to Man City has finally been concluded, but DW's Jonathan Harding thinks it's a move that comes too early for the 20-year-old wunderkind.

Oh Leroy. Would one more year have hurt?

Another Bundesliga talent leaves, but it's the timing of his departure rather than the departure itself that disappoints. Working with Pep Guardiola is a chance many young footballers don't get, but how good is the learning when you rarely get to implement it?

Stepping away from the financial whirlwind of temptation that is modern football, Sane's decision to move to Manchester City seems a little premature. At Schalke, Sane was a key player in a team going through an exciting stage of their development under a promising head coach. In short, the club's ambition matched his own.

Mario Götze's move to Bayern backfired and while it is rare for players to fail under Guardiola, expectation haunts every player burdened with a big price tag. And like Götze did once, Sane now flies the flag for the latest export of attacking football talent from Germany. The combination of that with a 50 million euro fee will weigh heavy on his shoulders.

Risky business

There's no denying Sane's talent. At just 20-years-old, his pace and dribbling injected some much-needed flair into Schalke at times last season. But, and it is a big one, Sane has only just arrived. He has played just 47 Bundesliga games and remains largely inconsistent. Like Cristiano Ronaldo in his early days at Manchester United, Sane's still figuring out when best to use his flicks and tricks and when best to pass.

Pass is what he should have done on this deal. Manchester City's last lucrative spend on a talented youngster didn't exactly go as planned. Raheem Sterling has stalled somewhat since exciting in red. The fear is that Sane will follow suit.

Fußball Europa League FC Schalke 04 - APOEL FC

Sane scored nine goals in 42 appearances in the 2015/16 season for Schalke.

Sane has flashed his brilliance at times, but not anywhere near enough to warrant the reported fee. But modern football continues to make decisions on short-term assessments, and Sane will have to do the same with his performances.

The Premier League, Manchester City and Pep Guardiola make for quite the stage and at a club that is building off buying finished products, a great deal will be expected from a 50 million euro, 20-year-old winger from Germany.

First, Sane must play and that is what stands in his way. There's no denying that playing with better players improves you, but first you must play.

Perhaps Sane will be Manchester City's breakout signing of the summer and prove that young players can deliver when burdened with a heavy price tag. At a time in his career when playing is pivotal, the fear is for all he'll learn under Guardiola, he'll struggle to go from key to impact player.

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