Manchester City midfielder Leroy Sane will be out of action for at least six weeks with an ankle injury he picked up in his side’s FA Cup win against Cardiff, Pep Guardiola said Tuesday.
The Germany international suffered ligament damage following a bad tackle from Joe Bennett in Sunday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie in the Welsh capital, which City won 2-0.
The 22-year-old is set to miss the League Cup final against Arsenal and both legs of the Champions League last-16 tie against Basel as well as key league fixtures against Arsenal and Chelsea.
Sane has been a key attacking player for the Premier League leaders this season, scoring 11 goals and providing 14 assists in all competitions.
City boss Guardiola complained after the match against Cardiff that his players needed more protection from referees, although Cardiff manager Neil Warnock said his managerial counterpart should “expect” tackles in English football.
However, speaking to the press on the eve of City’s Premier League clash with West Brom, Guardiola disagreed with Warnock’s viewpoint.
“He (Sane) is injured, six or seven weeks out,” Guardiola said. “Neil Warnock has more experience than me by far about the English football. When he says that, what can I say? I was here 18 months and I think English football was not like this.
“My feeling is English football is not like this. But again, Neil has more experience than me. He has spent all his career in England and that is why his opinions are his opinions.”
Guardiola said new record signing Aymeric Laporte would be ready to slot straight into City’s backline as he justified the club’s sizable outlay on defensive recruits.
Laporte, 23, completed a £57 million switch from Athletic Bilbao on Tuesday, eclipsing the £55 million City paid Wolfsburg for midfielder Kevin de Bruyne in 2015.
Guardiola has now spent more than £200 million on reinforcing his defence, also bringing in Benjamin Mendy, John Stones, and Kyle Walker in big-money deals.
“Some clubs spend £300, £400 million on two players. We spend it on six players,” Guardiola said.
“We had a problem last summer with six players out of contract. When you want to compete at the highest level, you need to spend.
“Maybe one day this club will spend £100 or £130 million on one player but we decide not to do it.”
The City boss said the Frenchman was ready to play immediately.
“We needed a centre-back in summer time but we still have a lot of games to play and decided to try and bring him right now. Our summer window will be easier because is done.
“He is a young player who has played since a young age in La Liga, so the biggest stages. He is strong in the air, fast, quality with the pass, so delighted, happy and grateful.”
Although Laporte’s deal has been completed, Guardiola said he did not know whether the player would be registered in time to play against West Brom.
The Catalan said Laporte’s arrival at the Etihad Stadium does not mean he will let centre-back Eliaquim Mangala leave the club in this window and is “99 percent sure nothing else will happen” in terms of incomings.