Three players finished the Premier League season in double figures for both goals and assists.
Eden Hazard, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane.
One of these is not like the others.
The brilliant Belgian seems destined for Real Madrid, having finally outgrown Chelsea blue after his best individual campaign yet.
Man City’s likeable No7 scooped a double of PFA Young Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year in recognition of his contribution to Man City’s domestic dominance.
But his team-mate, the big-haired German of outrageous talent, is lost in paradise.
Sane looked happy enough on Sunday afternoon as the City players took turns taking photos with the Premier League trophy while their fans in the away end of the Amex stadium traversed Oasis’ greatest hits.
And why shouldn’t he enjoy this time?
City have asserted their supremacy and Sane’s aforementioned stats are evidence of an effective personal campaign.
But there’s an elephant in the dressing room.
Despite being arguably City’s most exciting player, the 23-year-old watched plenty of the significant moments from the bench this season.
Sane was involved in twenty substitutions (ten on, ten off) in the Premier League alone.
He played 1,867 minutes in the league, 909 fewer than Sterling and 986 fewer than Bernardo Silva, Guardiola’s other first-choice winger.
It’s a problem that could only afflict clubs with City’s embarrassment of riches.
Sterling, Bernardo, Sane and Riyad Mahrez form a talented quartet who compete for just two places in the starting line-up (three if Bernardo plays central).
The undeniably quality of Sterling and Bernardo will be of little consolation to Sane, who would not be selfish to consider his own career primarily.
He is simply too good to warm any bench.
Instinctively, you’d suspect City will be desperate to keep hold of him.
You only have to look at the replies to any team announcement in which he does not feature to gauge the fans’ considerable appreciation.
However, those of us outside the club may be blind to the complexities of the situation.
Earlier in the season, Guardiola criticised the German’s attitude, citing this friction as the reason for his absence in the starting line-up.
Toni Kroos publicly questioned Sane’s commitment to the national team, denouncing Sane’s body language.
Many believe Sane was omitted from Germany’s 2018 World Cup squad because of reservations Joachim Low had about his character.
Given Die Mannschaft’s efforts in Russia, few would doubt Sane’s usefulness had he been selected.
Will Sane seek assurances of his role for next season?
Will his agent persuade Bayern Munich, Juventus, or another European giant to fork out over £100million for his client?
Are City really so good they believe they’ll be better off without him?
One thing is certain; Sane needs a purpose.
Only then can his mine his potential for all it’s worth.
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