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Manchester rivals set to battle for Leroy Sane

Manchester United are interested in signing the €40m-rated Schalke forward Leroy Sane but fear rivals Manchester City could beat them to the Germany international's signature. 

Goal understands United have been monitoring the 20-year-old's progress for some time - including a Uefa Youth League clash between Schalke and City 15 months ago - as part of a comprehensive operation comparable to the legwork they put into the signing of Anthony Martial from Monaco in September. 

United were criticised for panic-buying the then 19-year-old on the final day of the summer transfer window, but the club had compiled a sizeable dossier on the Frenchman and were confident he would hit the ground running at Old Trafford. They now have the same belief that Sane, who was named in Germany's Euro 2016 provisional squad, would make an immediate impact if Schalke could be persuaded to sell.



Amid interest from City in January, the German club's former general manager Horst Heldt made it known that they would not welcome any bids for the promising forward.

But Heldt's replacement, Christian Heidel, refused to rule out any transfer activity on Tuesday and it is believed a fee in the region of €40 million, more than they received from Wolfsburg for Julian Draxler, would tempt Schalke to part with their crown jewel.

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City are preparing for life under Pep Guardiola, and while they have given priority to centre-back and central midfield targets, they have also been watching Sane in recent months. Guardiola praised the speedy winger at the back end of last year as his Bayern Munich side prepared to face Schalke, and United believe their city rivals could be sparked into action if the Gelsenkirchen outfit sell this summer.

While there is uncertainty around the future of the United manager's position, Louis van Gaal insisting that he will remain in charge throughout the summer and into next season and the Red Devils are keen to press ahead with efforts to sign Sane.