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23 Apr 2018

Manchester City: The future is even brighter for Leroy Sané and City

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Young Player of the Year

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Room for improvement

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 The ominous third season 

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Sign on?

(Photo credit: Ardfern)

As lazy Sundays go, the 22nd April was one of the better ones for Manchester City.

Their game against Swansea City was one of the most one-sided matches you are ever likely to see, a true exhibition of the champions' poise, power, and potential to go even further.

After a season of Fabian Delph's more than able deputising at left-back, Benjamin Mendy made his comeback from injury and began spraying crosses in from the touchline like he had never been gone.

Phil Foden was brought on too, and in a weekend where Jadon Sancho bagged a goal and two assists for Borussia Dortmund, gave a taster of what is to come for England fans. 

His delicately purposeful runs whet the appetite for what is surely to be a stellar career, and he should have finished the game with an assist after perfectly teeing up the uncharacteristically profligate Gabriel Jesus for a late header.

In between all this, there was a nod to City's past glories as well. 

Yaya Touré rolled back the years in a regal central midfield performance, lurching past his Swansea counterparts and delivering on-a-sixpence passes like his self of 2013/14, when he was a true force of nature on the pitch rather than a crowd-pleasing token substitute.

Young Player of the Year

After the game, City's genuine potential to do the impossible and improve on their league form this season was made clear as Leroy Sané was named the PFA Young Player of the Year.

It was a shortlist dominated by Manchester City players. Raheem Sterling and Ederson also made the cut with Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, and Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon completing the list.

The 22-year-old German international was a worthy winner with nine goals and 12 assists to his name, with his constant desire and ability to push back his opposing fullback one of the key components in City's stunning attack this campaign.

Room for improvement

He still has room to improve. 

He was blunt in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final at Liverpool, and seemed perpetually offside in the return fixture. But there is no reason to think that he, and the rest of his teammates, won't take their game to even higher levels next season. 

Of the eleven players to start against Swansea - Sané himself did not play - five were 24 or younger and only two were older than 28. 

This is a team that will only improve in the coming years, even before summer reinforcements are brought in. 

The ominous third season 

Pep Guardiola has already promised that he will be harder on his squad next year as he refuses to accept complacency and Manchester City fans should be licking their lips at the prospect of the fabled Guardiola third season.

His third season at Barcelona brought about the unforgettable 2010/11 Barcelona vintage, a team that pass-and-moved its way into the conversation for the best club side of all time. 

His third year at Bayern Munich brought a league and cup double, with the Bavarians finishing ten points clear of second and twenty-eight clear of third.

With City very much on course for the Premier League points and goals records, it is a troubling thought for the rest of the league as to how they are supposed to slow them down next season.

Sign on?

It is also one of the more compelling reasons as to why Guardiola himself could be convinced to break his own three-year rule and sign on at the Etihad for a little while longer.

Guardiola clearly believes in the abilities of young players like Foden, John Stones, and Raheem Sterling, perhaps more than large swathes of the English public. He may even feel a sort of paternal responsibility towards them. 

The sky is their limit, and Guardiola will believe in his own ability to take them there. The finest coach in the world doesn't have a Champions League to his name since 2011. But this might just be the team to win him another.

Do you think Pep Guardiola will stay on longer at Manchester City? Let us know by commenting below.