Schalke prodigy Leroy Sane today became the fifth signing of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City tenure.
The German youngster sealed a five-year deal and reportedly cost the 5/2 Premier League title favourites a beefy £37m, making him the most expensive of all Guardiola’s acquisitions by some margin.
Akin to the four players signed by the Citizens prior to Sane this summer – Ilkay Gundogan, Nolito, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Aaron Mooy – the 20-year-old is yet to kick a ball in the English top flight.
This might be a cause for concern for those with a vested interest in City reigning supreme, with the extensively-discussed intensity of the Premier League compromising the talents of several world-class practitioners sampling it for the first time in the past. It could be argued how flooding a squad with rookies in this respect may have a negative impact on their title bid.
Based on previous Citizens successes in the transfer market, however, their efforts to be crowned champions won’t be harmed, but enhanced, by this influx of greenhorns.
In recent campaigns, acquisitions with no prior Premier League experience, attacking players in particular, have tended to prosper at the Etihad, especially when their fortunes are juxtaposed next to counterparts sourced from domestic foes.
Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Yaya Toure are just some of their instant hits, while the short spells in the sun of less-celebrated signings like Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas suggest they never had much trouble navigating England’s top tier.
With seven league goals and nine assists, Kevin De Bruyne was one of their biggest success stories of 2015/16, his first year at the club following a £55m move from Wolfsburg. The Belgian had previously played for Chelsea, but the sum of his top-flight involvement totaled 132 minutes before he was sold; he had plenty to learn about the division upon his return.
Compare these stories of instant acclimatisation to those of players purchased closer to home.
Raheem Sterling’s disappointing first season at the Etihad provides a case in point.
Signed for £49m from Liverpool, the much-maligned youngster scored six Premier League goals in his freshman year in Manchester, creating just two more.
His toils echo those endured by Wilfried Bony, Fabian Delph and Jack Rodwell following Etihad switches from Swansea City, Aston Villa and Everton respectively.
Given City’s skill at ingratiating those bought from abroad, Sane and his fellow recruits of the summer so far can look forward to a silverware-laden season.