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Sane to Bayern Munich in the balance amid coronavirus shutdown

16:00 BST 09/04/2020
Leroy Sane Manchester City 2019-20
Manchester City winger remains a target for German champions but coronavirus outbreak is having an impact on transfer plans worldwide

Leroy Sane's proposed transfer to Bayern Munich looks further away than it has over the past nine months, with the Manchester City attacker facing being left in limbo.

Bundesliga champions Bayern remain keen on Sane, but the uncertainty over the transfer market in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has further complicated a potential move.

Sane looked like he was set to complete a move back to Germany last August, although both clubs remained some distance from agreeing a fee, before he suffered the anterior cruciate knee ligament injury that has forced him to miss the season so far.

City, who have offered the ex-Schalke winger a new deal, wanted more than £100 million ($124m) for the Premier League’s 2018 Young Player of the Year - a fee that would have represented a record outlay for Bayern. The German club, however, hoped to pick him up for less.

Transfer fee wrangles were expected to rumble on until the final day of the window before the 24-year-old suffered the serious injury in the Community Shield victory over Liverpool at the beginning of August.

Bayern have maintained their interest but ruled out a move in the January transfer window with no certainty over when Sane would be able to play again.

The forward had made one appearance for City’s youth team as he eased his way back when the season was suspended due to the Covid-19 outbreak. With no firm decision over when football is likely to return, Sane’s future remains uncertain with his City contract set to move into its final 12 months at the end of June.

Bayern expect that it will force City to drop their asking price when the window reopens, and there is uncertainty over the impact on football finances and transfer fees with the suspension of football having an effect on clubs’ incomes.

“Serious predictions are difficult to make, it's obvious there'll be changes," Bayern president Herbert Hainer said to 51 magazine. "I agree with [former president] Uli Hoeness' assumption that transfer fees will decrease. That's just logical.

"When income decreases, there's less money in circulation. And given the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis on people's everyday lives, outrageous sums in the millions are even less justifiable than they already were.

"My hope is that more common sense will be applied here as well. I have to take my hat off to Hasan Salihamidzic and our sporting leadership. They're handling the coronavirus situation very well."

There have been some suggestions that Bayern will cool their interest in Sane after he changed his advisers in winter and that they will instead make RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner their top priority.

Meanwhile, Sane has admitted that it has been frustrating to put his comeback on hold because of the coronavirus outbreak. The Germany international, who has a city centre apartment in Manchester, said he is concentrating on making a full recovery from his injury.

"I can only say that I really miss football and I want to be back on the pitch as soon as possible," he told the Deutscher Fussball-Bund [German FA] website.  "We have no choice but to trust the experts and be ready when the starting signal is given again. 

"If it continues, then probably with ghost games. But that would also be perfectly fine. It is important to find solutions on how not to treat everyone's health lightly. 

"From a purely sporting point of view, it would of course be fairest if the season was still played out somehow."