Football: Man City want Bayern target Sane to stay, says Guardiola

Sane (centre) takes a selfie with a fan after a team training session in Hong Kong in July 2019.
Sane (centre) takes a selfie with a fan after a team training session in Hong Kong in July 2019.PHOTO: AFP

MANCHESTER, England (REUTERS) - Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said on Friday (Aug 2) that German winger Leroy Sane has not requested a transfer away from the Premier League club amid interest from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

The transfer saga has dogged Guardiola throughout City's pre-season tour in Asia and the Spaniard reiterated his stance that he wants to retain the services of the 23-year-old whose 10 goals and 10 assists helped the club defend their league crown.

"I answered many times this question (on Sane's future), I know the rumours exist," Guardiola told reporters ahead of Sunday's Community Shield match against Liverpool.

"It's impossible for me to convince any player to stay when he wants to leave but the player did not tell me anything. If he says he wants to leave, we will speak to the club. He didn't tell me that.

"We want him to stay, we have tried to extend the contract for more than a year. We were quite close and now it's a little bit different but that's the reality, I can't say any more."

Bayern have been chasing Sane's signature but rumours of the Germany international making the decision to move were put to rest on Thursday when the Bavarian club released a statement.

The Premier League transfer window closes a day before the season begins on Aug 9 and Guardiola said he hoped other European leagues would follow suit so managers know the final makeup of their squad before the first game of the season.

"In many ways, England lead in many aspects so hopefully the rest of Europe will follow," Guardiola added.

"I think it's the best before the first game for the Premier League you know exactly what players you will play for the rest of the season."

STARTING AGAIN

The Spanish manager led City to an unprecedented domestic treble last season but said it counts for nothing when the new season gets underway.

"We won almost every trophy (last season), not all of them," Guardiola said.

"It was quite remarkable. We know each other better now than the first season. That's easier for our job.

"We start from zero now, we start again. But we are ready to accept the challenge."

Guardiola also reserved praise for his opposite number Juergen Klopp, having faced him many times in the Bundesliga, too, when he was at Bayern and Klopp was at Borussia Dortmund.

Liverpool ran City close in a tense Premier League title race last season, narrowly finishing one point behind the champions on the final day, but Klopp did later lead his side to their sixth European Cup.

"(He is a) class manager, top manager," Guardiola said.

"He played quite similar in Dortmund an incredible challenge every time we face his teams and his message is always positive.

"I think he's so good for football. His message is always positive, sometimes some exceptions but most of the time always good."

Guardiola confirmed goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, who missed the majority of last season due to an Achilles injury, would play in the season's curtain raiser on Sunday and that all South American players except for Fernandinho were back in training.