Bayern Munich have been tapping up Leroy Sane for years. Is it time something was done about it?

Not long ago, clubs aiming to strengthen their squads during a transfer window had to tread carefully.

Declaring interest in a player was a risky move, because doing so trod a fine line between harmless flirting and going too far, and risking punishment from the footballing authorities.

In 2009, Chelsea were hit with a two-window transfer ban after being found guilty of tapping up French winger Gael Kakuta while he was at RC Lens. It was later overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which was great news for Kakuta who could head out on one of his six subsequent loan spells from Stamford Bridge.

Four years earlier, Chelsea were involved in the most high-profile case of tapping up, when Ashley Cole, then of Arsenal, was spotted meeting Blues manager Jose Mourinho and Chief Executive Peter Kenyon in a hotel to discuss a move across London. This resulted in Chelsea receiving a suspended three-point deduction from the Premier League (which still stands today) and a £300k fine, while Mourinho was hit with a £200k fine and Cole charged £100k for his troubles.

Fast forward 10 years, and we’re in a completely different world. Bayern Munich have finally completed the signing of Leroy Sane from Manchester City, after a very public courting of him which started some two years ago.

Ever since the summer of 2018, Bayern Munich have been chasing Sane, and just didn’t give up. The umpteen-time German champions were in the market for new wingers after Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben both retired, so it’s no surprise that their attentions turned towards arguably Germany’s best winger, who is back to full fitness after a knee ligament injury curtailed his season before it even began.

In a normal transfer situation, the next step would be to open official dialogue between the two clubs to talk fees, contracts and personal terms, but Bayern went down the rogue route.

Munich made their first move for the 24-year-old, which was seemingly rebuffed by the English champions, leading to Bayern President Uli Hoeness saying:

I would be a bit sceptical [if a move for Sane went through]. It is unlikely that it will work out. We are talking about crazy sums of money.

Uli Hoeness, June 3rd 2019

Ah so that’s the end of that then right? Nope. Ever since, Bayern have publically flirted with Sane. You could even call it…’tapping up’.

Over a month later, Bayern Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was still convinced the club could turn Sane’s head, stating:

The status is that he comes back from vacation this week and did not want to talk during the vacation time

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, July 8th 2019

Oh how noble of you Karl! Let it be known to the football world how much of a good guy you are, not wanting to interrupt a player’s holiday, but not giving a toss about trying to persuade him to join your club through the media.

It’s clear what Bayern were doing in this whole saga, and they aren’t the first and won’t be the last to employ similar tactics. The fee (believed to be around £100m) for Sane was too big, so they tried to make him essentially go on strike to force through a move from the Etihad back to his homeland.

The thing is, Sane to his credit didn’t entertain the approach. He remained professional throughout the summer, and seemed happy to stay with City and Pep Guardiola until a situation was settled upon.

But that doesn’t affect the fact that Bayern have clearly tapped up Sane, and it hasn’t stopped yet.

Niko Kovac, the ex-Bayern manager confirmed as much while he was still in charge:

You can see that the transfer is not easy. But I know that our people are working very hard to make it happen. We will do everything to realise this transfer. We all know that Leroy Sane is our dream player. The public knows that, we know that

Niko Kovac, 24th July 2019

Ah well, as long as everyone knows, it’s all good isn’t it?

Bayern’s chase for new players is starting to frustrate them. A similar thing happened back in January of 2019, when Callum Hudson-Odoi was the subject of the batting of their eyelashes, but Chelsea managed to hang on…just.

But that hasn’t stopped Bayern from maintaining their interest…

We did not think about that now. But I have heard from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Hasan Salihamidzic that he [Hudson-Odoi] is an interesting player. I think we’ll keep thinking too.

Uli Hoeness, April 25th 2019

Bayern aren’t used to not getting their own way. Their transfer strategy of hoovering up all the half-decent players from every other Bundesliga club has worked for years, so when someone says no, they have no idea what to do next.

The likes of Serge Gnabry, Leon Goretzka and Niklas Sule immediately fancied the switch from Werder Bremen, Schalke and Hoffenheim respectively when interest from Munich arose, therefore practically forcing their clubs’ hand and guaranteeing themselves a German league title under Bayern’s domination.

It’s not fair on the player or the “selling” club to have to contend with clubs like Bayern (and they’re not the only ones), trying to strong-arm their players away from them just because they can. Authorities need to step up and take action, whether it be through points deductions or preferably, transfer bans.

Here’s hoping we bring back sanctions for such shithouse behaviour.

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