Pep Guardiola has added Burnley starlet Dwight McNeil to his list of targets as he seeks to replace Leroy Sane, according to a report.
Manchester City have been without Sane for most of the season due to injury. His absence has been one of the factors in their failure to retain their Premier League title, as Liverpool were confirmed as champions on Thursday.
And it appears City will have to do without Sane again next season, as the winger is said to be on the verge of an exit. Bayern Munich have admired him for a long time, and could finally get their man.
Pep Guardiola revealed earlier this month that Sane has turned down “two or three” offers of a new contract at the Etihad Stadium. The City boss admitted that the 24-year-old can leave this summer if the right bid comes in.
Previous reports have suggested that Guardiola could look to the Bundesliga again to find his successor. City have been tipped to make a move for Bayer Leverkusen star Leon Bailey.
However, ESPN now claim that City could opt for a homegrown player instead – Burnley’s Dwight McNeil.
McNeil made his Burnley debut on the final day of the 2017-18 season, and has featured heavily since then. The winger became an England Under-21 international earlier this season.
The report suggests that Guardiola is aware of McNeil’s potential. His “athleticism” and “versatility” are two of the factors that make him appealing to the City boss.
McNeil actually came through the youth ranks at rivals Manchester United. However, the Red Devils released him at the age of 15.
Five years later, McNeil is a Premier League regular, and could be ready for the next step. His contract runs until 2023, with the option for an extra year, but it remains to be seen how long Burnley can stand in his way if he wants to progress.
McNeil already has more than 50 Premier League appearances for Burnley. He has scored five goals and provided 11 assists in that time.
MAN CITY NOT ONLY SUITOR FOR MCNEIL
In recent months, McNeil has been linked with a range of other potential destinations. Reports in November suggested that Man Utd could try to lure him back to Old Trafford.
Those links prompted Sean Dyche to admit that McNeil will eventually “outgrow” Burnley.
“Look, we know Dwight is a player who will certainly go beyond us – but in a positive way,” Dyche said in December.
“We don’t remotely want to lose good players. But eventually some players will outgrow the club in the sense of a bigger club coming along and buying them because of their skill set.
“Dwight is clearly a top talent. He is playing and delivering every week.
“If he remains grounded and keeps the hard work ethic he’s got – and I’m sure he will do that – then his talent will continue to shine through.
“And we’re not naive enough to think it’s going to go unnoticed.”