One of the topics Pep Guardiola can expect to be asked about when he sits down for his first press conference of the summer on Monday is Leroy Sane.
The Manchester City winger was overlooked for the business end of last season and Bayern Munich – Guardiola’s former employers – have made no secret of their wish to bring Sane back to the Bundesliga. Compliments from Bavaria have dripped like water torture in an attempt to convince the 23-year-old into a move.
It will be interesting to see whether the City manager will be drawn into Bayern’s public pressure, given how he refuses to discuss targets until they are pictured next to a smiling Txiki Begiristain signing their contract.
The club, though, have already responded without the need for words from executives, players, or rivals.
Putting Leroy Sane front and centre of the big Puma kit launch was a bold statement. While club officials insists nothing should be read into it, it is some risk for a company that thinks so carefully about every minute detail of their brand to promote the start of a ten-year deal with a player that may never wear the kit he is pictured in for a competitive game.
The egg-on-face moments that come from players in kits or on calendars that have already left the club are not usually expected with the modern City.
They have also included Sane in a list of six stars they gave to the Premier League to promote the upcoming Asia Trophy alongside Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker.
The forward has not featured prominently in advertising for the Hong Kong leg of the tour but including him ahead of others that played more than him last season is another message for Bayern and any other interested parties. If there were doubts that Sane would travel with the squad to China, such a decision from City surely kills them.
It may be too hopeful from the club to expect an imminent breakthrough in contract negotiations with Sane that have dragged and stalled over the 12 months. But their actions this summer have shown the player that he is still valued highly at the club just as much as others have postured and posed.
If all eyes will still be on Guardiola next week to see if he has any words for his old colleagues, the club have managed to issue an effective response without any public rebuttals.