Bayern Munich's marquee summer signing Leroy Sane has revealed he's looking forward to the prospect of linking up with new teammate David Alaba in 2020/21, and hopes to help Germany's most decorated club continue their glittering run of recent success.
Sane joined the record Bundesliga champions from Manchester City at the start of July, putting pen to paper on a five-year contract. The 24-year-old winger enjoyed a breakout season with Schalke in 2015/16 before linking up with former Bayern boss Pep Guardiola in England, where he won back-to-back Premier League titles in 2018 and 2019.
The 21-time Germany international has since been training hard at Bayern's Säbener Straße, although he is ineligible for their remaining games in the UEFA Champions League. That means Sane will probably make his competitive debut for the club in September, and he is certainly looking forward to lining up alongside his new teammates – one in particular.
"I really want to play with David Alaba," he explained in an interview with Sport Bild. "He's a lovely guy, a great footballer, we get on well away from the game. David has shown that he's not only one of the world's best left-backs, but also exceptional in central defence."
Watch: Leroy Sane's Bundesliga mixtape
Sane's duties will come at the other end of the pitch, where he is likely to be competing with Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman for a starting berth out wide. Refreshingly, though – for an elite-level footballer – he says he has absolutely no problem with the principle of squad rotation, even arguing it will benefit Bayern in the long run.
"Of course I want to play, but I'm not demanding a starting place in every game," he declared. "No player in the world can play every game and reach their highest level. I have my goals, but I'm not against squad rotation in the slightest. It helps the team to stay fresh, to bring new energy. Serge, King and myself – that sounds pretty good to me!"
'I fit in very well'
Regardless of how frequently he is deployed, Sane should have no trouble settling into his new surroundings. Not only is he familiar with the Bundesliga – he scored 11 goals in 47 top-flight outings with Schalke – he knows plenty of his teammates from his time in the various Germany national teams, and has already crossed paths with Bayern coach Hansi Flick.
"I quickly realised that I know a lot of the lads here, that I fit in very well," he said. "I also know Hansi Flick from the Germany U21s. I know how he works and his personality, it's a good match. We talked about what he expects from me and the team, what the objectives are, and about his way of working in general. I was very happy at the prospect of him becoming my coach. It was a nice phone call."
Flick himself will no doubt be happy to have a player of Sane's talent and altruism at his disposal as he plots a path to more silverware next term. Before suffering the anterior cruciate ligament injury that kept him out of action for most of 2019/20, Sane had been going from strength to strength, contributing 20 goals and 25 assists to Man City's title wins of the previous two campaigns.
'Pep helped me'
The Essen native also had warm words for City boss Guardiola – under whom he made significant strides in England – with his former mentor recently wishing him all the best in Munich.
"Our relationship is good," he revealed. "There was never a point where one of us got fed up with the other. I'm grateful for everything he's taught me. Pep helped me to reach a very high level. He's very meticulous and wants to improve his players every day. He's very persistent when it comes to his tactics – but that's a positive thing, it really helped me. We even lived in the same building, so we saw a lot of each other."
After his frustrating 10-month spell on the sidelines, Sane will no doubt be champing at the bit to kick off the next chapter of his already trophy-laden career. With Philippe Coutinho set to return to Barcelona when his loan spell expires in August, Bayern's new wing wizard will inherit the iconic No.10 shirt, previously worn by club legends Uli Hoeneß, Lothar Matthäus and Arjen Robben.
"I know Arjen Robben wore it, and so did Uli Hoeneß once upon a time," Sane confessed. "The No.10 shirt has a great history at Bayern. I know all about the responsibilities that come with the jersey. I want to be part of the Bayern success story."
If both Bayern and Sane's recent achievements are anything to go by, you certainly wouldn't bet against it – the Bundesliga and the rest of Europe had best beware.