This article is part of Football FanCast’s Expert Roundup feature, which provides three quotes from those in the know in order to illuminate fundamental strengths, weaknesses, quirks, stylistic comparisons and general observations of players, transfer targets and confirmed signings.
With the German now well on the path to rehabilitation, the speculation has once again resumed that a mega-money deal is in the pipeline for next summer and accompanying this are numerous reports claiming to identify his successor on the City flanks.
Step forward Mikel Oyarzabal, 22 years of age and one of the brightest lights in La Liga since being handed his debut by none other than David Moyes in 2015 after emerging through the Real Sociedad academy.
A Spain international, boasting six caps, and less importantly nicknamed ‘Bigfoot’ due to his size 11 boots, Oyarzabal is presently enjoying a fine season with the Txuri-urdinak scoring four goals in 13 league appearances with four assists thrown in.
And even looking beyond such contributions, his impish trickery and intelligence movement would be a huge boon to any side.
Though lacking Sane’s directness and searing pace, Oyarzabal has technical ability to spare while his fondness for cutting in tallies with Pep Guardiola’s penchant for inverted wingers. Providing an aerial threat would also be a significant bonus for a team as small as the reigning champions.
With recent reports in mind, perhaps it’s now time to throw it over to those who know the Basque ballers best.
Evidently, they think the world of him.
Eusebio Sacristán, former Real Sociedad coach
The former Barcelona midfielder oversaw Oyarzabal’s development for three years at the Anoeta and though not naturally inclined to lavish praise on any of his players, here makes something of an exception, as per UEFA.com.
“I see him grow from day to day. Everything that he brings to the side is positive and as a coach I’m very happy with him.”
Robert Moreno, Spain assistant coach
A late third for La Roja against Sweden over the summer helped to further establish the winger as an international to be reckoned with, which is no mean feat given the nation’s attacking riches.
Post-match Moreno’s mention of the player’s work-rate is pertinent considering Guardiola’s infamously high demands, as per eldesmarque.com.
“He is a special player, who has a goal, something that is not easy. He does not get tired of running.”
Guillem Balague, Spanish football journalist
What Balague doesn’t know about La Liga can be written on a postage stamp and in 2017 the respected pundit was asked by Sky to name the five most promising talents set to make their mark.
The first name on his list was Oyarzabal, as per SkySports.com.
“Comparisons have already been made with Antoine Griezmann, a previous La Real superstar, and if he does eventually leave, it will certainly be for big money.”
£68m is the rumoured release clause that would help lure this superstar-in-the-making to the Premier League.
In the event of Sane’s departure, City should pay it.
In seasons to come it will be viewed as a bargain.