Manchester City are reportedly keeping tabs on Real Sociedad winger Mikel Oyarzabal as a direct replacement for Leroy Sane.
Sane, 23, failed to seal a switch to Bayern Munich in the summer but he could yet relocate to the Allianz Arena, and Pep Guardiola is eyeing up Oyarzabal as his successor, according to Sky Germany.
Who is Mikel Oyarzabal? Five things to know…
- Age: 22
- Position: Left winger
- Career path so far: Real Sociedad (2015 – present)
- Key stat: Oyarzabal has completed the third-most take-ons in La Liga this season (24).
- Did you know? Oyarzabal is the vice-captain of Real Sociedad at the age of just 22.
The Bavarians were locked in lengthy negotiations with Man City over the transfer of Sane, but a serious knee injury sustained by the winger in August stalled talks and a move ultimately failed to transpire.
Sane is expected to recover from his anterior cruciate ligament injury and will return in the New Year, but a deal is most likely to go through in the summer if negotiations resume.
In preparation for that eventuality, Guardiola is supposedly ready to pounce for Oyarzabal, who is believed to have a £67m release clause in his contract.
The 22-year-old progressed through the Real Sociedad academy and has been a leading figure at the Anoeta Stadium these past few seasons, prompting Athletic Bilbao to approach him in the summer, before he subsequently rejected the Basque club and signed a new deal until 2024.
The six-capped Spain international played a chief role in his nation’s triumph at the UEFA European Under-21 Championship in June, and has started this season like a house on fire.
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Oyarzabal already has four goals and three assists to his name in La Liga, while he a bagged a further goal in the Copa del Rey and has completed the third-most take-ons in the Spanish top-flight this term (24).
That sort of influence and end product in the final third will be exactly what Guardiola is after should Sane decide to leave the Etihad.
Despite being just 22, Oyarzabal is vastly experienced having burst onto the scene as a precious talent, amassing 161 appearances for Txuri-urdinak across all competitions, while scoring 42 goals and registering 26 assists.