Leroy Sane (r.) has signed for Bayern Munich, pairing him up with Germany international stars such as Serge Gnabry (l.) - but how will they fit in together at club level? - © imago
Leroy Sane (r.) has signed for Bayern Munich, pairing him up with Germany international stars such as Serge Gnabry (l.) - but how will they fit in together at club level? - © imago

Where will Leroy Sane play for Bayern Munich?

Bayern Munich have made a powerful statement by completing the signing of Leroy Sane from Manchester City. But where will the former Schalke attacker play for the German champions?

Bayern have felt compelled, for some time now, to strengthen their wide areas following the retirement of iconic wing pair Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery at the end of the 2018/19 season.

Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry have certainly shown they are up to the task, while first-choice left-back Alphonso Davies was originally a winger, which provides a further option for coach Hansi Flick. But the club have nonethelss added a huge attacking string to their bow.

Watch: Sane's top five goals from his time at Schalke!

Left leaning

While helping City win a domestic quadruple in 2018/19, Sane did most of his work on the left of a three-man attack. That makes him an obvious candidate to line up where Coman does when fit - although, unlike the Frenchman who likes to cut inside more often than not, Sane is naturally left-footed.

Sane's statistics from his most recent campaign suggest he certainly enjoyed playing in that position. He finished with 16 goals and 17 assists in all competitions, with 10 of each coming in City's successful Premier League title defence.

Sane's father was a former striker for Freiburg and Nuremberg, amongst others, and that his son has inherited some of his goal-threat is perhaps unsurprising.

Sane volleyed home for Schalke against Borussia Dortmund in April 2016. - imago/MIS

Right on

Before spending three years with City, Sane came through the youth academy at Schalke. Now 24, he made his Bundesliga debut back in April 2014 aged only 18. Synonymous with the left wing these days, the Germany international often played on the right with the Royal Blues.

He laid on a goal from that position in a 3-1 loss against Bayern in November 2015, and also scored for Schalke in a 2-2 draw in the Revierderby against Borussia Dortmund in April 2016. That was one of eight league goals he got during his final year in Gelsenkirchen, where he mostly operated on the right side of the attack.

It's a role he's occupied for City in the past as well, and that ability to switch wings with ease will offer Flick plenty of options.

The Müller role

With the pace and sharp turns to get him clear of most defenders, Sane could conceivably play anywhere across the attack - perhaps even in a Thomas Müller-style role in support of the Bundesliga's top goalscorer Robert Lewandowski.

Norbert Elgert, Sane's former youth coach at Schalke, hinted as much last February, saying he was impressed by how the City player had progressed under ex-Bayern boss Pep Guardiola.

"His positional play overall and above all in tight spaces has improved significantly," Elgert told SportBild. "As a result, he has become even more dangerous."

Sane returned to Schalke to score from a free-kick for Manchester City in February 2019. - imago/Sven Simon

Sane duly scored a brilliant free-kick on his return to Gelsenkirchen, and in the wake of that victory Guardiola was asked about whether the goalscorer had the ability to play a more central role.

"Playing in the middle, he can do it," Guardiola said. "But I think he's a better player being wider. Of course, he can do it… but Leroy I think is the best player in the world [out] wide and making runs in behind, these kinds of actions.

"That's why we prefer to use him where his strength is. And his strength, I believe, is to be wider. One against one, when [teammates] have the ball and [he's] making movements for the goal. I think he's an incredible player."

Sane starred for Germany in their win in the Netherlands in March 2019. - imago

False nine

Another thing Sane has going for him is that he is still learning. Speaking shortly before he scored in a 3-2 win over the Netherlands in Germany's opening UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier last March, head coach Joachim Löw said he liked what he was seeing form the player.

"His development has been good with both the national team and Manchester City," Löw said. "He's put in some great performances, but what is more important to me is that he's taken a big step forward. He's really mastered jobs on the field. He has incredible skills and has brought them to the field in the last six months. Leroy still has huge potential and can become an extremely important player for the German national team."

Could that potential eventually see him used in a false nine role at Bayern? Mario Götze had a similar evolution recently in his career. There's nothing to suggest that Bayern have that in mind just yet, but Sane's obvious talent means that it could be an option in future. Future teammate Robert Lewandowski has already highlighted just how exciting Sane's signing is.

"He's a super player with great qualities and potential," the 33-goal top scorer told Kicker. "I've already seen many times how good he is. Such a player can lift you from the very first game and improve the team."

Left, right or centre, Sane's signing is an exciting one indeed.