July 18, 2019 / 5:23 AM / a month ago

Soccer: Guardiola hails Sane but wants only 'happy players' at Man City

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v Leicester City - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - May 6, 2019 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola during a lap of appreciation after the match Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff/File Photo

(Reuters) - Manchester City will strive to unlock the full potential of Germany international Leroy Sane but can only develop players happy to be with the Premier League champions, manager Pep Guardiola said.

The 23-year-old winger has long been linked with a switch to German giants Bayern Munich. He has been offered a contract extension at City but is yet to sign, having struggled to hold down a regular starting spot last season.

“The club made him an offer last year... I have said many times, we want people happy to be here,” Guardiola told a news conference after City defeated West Ham United 4-1 in their Premier League Asia Trophy clash in Nanjing.

Sane, whose contract expires in 2021, provided an assist in the match to earn praise from Guardiola who said City could still improve the 2017-18 PFA Young Player of the Year.

“We are going to help him be the best, we know his potential and what level he is. He has a special quality that is difficult to find around the world,” Guardiola added.

“He knows, they all know... how difficult it is to play (regularly), because of the quality we have.

“But at the same time, I spoke to the club 10 times (to say) I want people here to be happy. If they don’t want, they go. The desire to have him... is always there.”

City start their title defence away at West Ham on Aug. 10.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru

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