Manchester City's Leroy Sane out Until 'February or March,' Says Pep Guardiola

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistAugust 9, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Leroy Sane of Manchester City reacts to an injury during the FA Community Shield match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on August 4, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Pep Guardiola has said he hopes Manchester City winger Leroy Sane will return in "February or March" after he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the Community Shield shootout win over Liverpool

Sane came off injured in the first half of Sunday's 1-1 draw at Wembley Stadium and will undergo surgery on his right knee.

City manager Guardiola spoke at a press conference ahead of Saturday's Premier League opener at West Ham United and gave an approximate timescale for his return:

"I don't know. Normally these kind of injuries, six to seven months. Hopefully in February or March he can come back with us. I didn't think he was leaving. He didn't tell me he wanted to leave, he played the pre-season and he played in the final. Unfortunately it's incredibly bad news because in three seasons we have had three ACLs. He's a young player, hopefully he will recover well. He is in the best hands possible. All the people here are going to try to help him in the tough moment because he will feel alone after a few months."

Simon Bajkowski, Richard Fay and Joe Bray of the Manchester Evening News cited recent reports of Bayern Munich's strong interest in Sane, which has ended following news of his knee injury.

Injury analyst Ben Dinnery used City team-mate Benjamin Mendy—currently sidelined—as a comparison for Sane's injury:

Ben Dinnery @BenDinnery

Pep is hoping Leroy Sane will be back by February/March. "I don’t know. Normally this kind of injury (ACL), I don't know - six or seven months?" #MCFC Mendy missed 202 days with a similar injury back in 2017. https://t.co/bJecN2Pt1z

The Frenchman has been the victim of knee injuries since he joined City from AS Monaco in July 2017. Mendy led the tributes wishing Sane well in his recovery:

Leroy Sané @LeroySane19

Thank u my brother 🙏🏾🙏🏾 @benmendy23 https://t.co/rtM5XbvOZq

Jerome Boateng @JB17Official

Unfortunately that‘s part of our life as a professional. I‘m 100% sure you‘ll be back stronger bro @LeroySane19 - get well soon! 🦁#FIGHTER https://t.co/hsmM95BZje

Losing Sane robs City of one of the most gifted wingers in the Premier League, placing more pressure on Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez to stay fit on the left and right flanks, respectively. Bernardo Silva is another option out wide, though Guardiola has played the Portuguese more centrally at times.

Wednesday's signing of Joao Cancelo from Juventus could become all the more crucial in the wake of Sane's injury. He and Kyle Walker each give City competent attacking options on the right side; Guardiola could experiment with either full-back further upfield if necessary.

ESPN FC's Stephan Uersfeld recently wrote Bayern manager Niko Kovac apologised to Guardiola for his overtly public approach to recruiting Sane. 

Guardiola has long maintained he wants to keep the Germany star but recently admitted contract talks were "a little bit different" following Bayern's campaigning.

Sport Witness highlighted the timing of his injury being confirmed on Thursday:

Sport Witness @Sport_Witness

Yesterday, Bild revealed Leroy Sane’s injury was his cruciate, and Kicker said it would be announced after the window closed. It was the cruciate and was announced at 5.10pm. Not the most positive thing to be correct about, but clearly very well sourced information.

Sane's absence threatens to derail City's bid for a third successive Premier League crown before it has begun, not to mention denting their hopes in the UEFA Champions League.