And once more Manchester United look to spend more £30million+ on a teenage sensation this summer. Long gone are the days where such money was able to buy the likes of Brazilian Ronaldo and Christian Vieri. Even one United legend in the form of Ruud van Nistelrooy came in at a paltry £24.5million. In this inflated and most bizarre world of football transfers, money seemingly has about as much value as a box of tic-tacs, frittered away like any one’s business however, it surely is only fair though to look at Sanches as a player without the eye-watering £45million price tag.
So what do we know about Renato Sanches? 18 years old and represented by Jorge Mendes, Sanches has two Portugal caps to his name. What is even more impressive is how quickly his stock has risen since making his debut in the autumn of 2015. Playing in the centre of midfield, Sanches has made 18 appearances this term for Benfica and as well as scoring two goals, the young Portuguese sensation has become a key component in Rui Vitória’s title and Champions League push.
Characterised by his physical stature and almost endless energy reserves, Sanches has the frame and physical attributes to succeed with the very best box-to-box midfielders in the game today. Throw into the mix a hellish shot from range a very sound passing ability, Sanches put in a more than secure performance against Bayern Munich in the Champions League this week.
Questions have to be asked though of Manchester United. Firstly, why are United having to resort to spending such vast sums on youngsters? If Sanches did arrive, United would have spent almost £100million on three teenagers alone when you count Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial into the equation. With the cornerstone of Fergie’s success stemming from the ethos of ‘the class of 92’ academy products, you have to wonder if United’s famed academy has that next crop of players? But we know they do. For all the things Van Gaal may have done wrong during his tenure in charge, the Dutchman has handed a whole host of debuts to academy products, none more so prevalent than Marcus Rashford.
Secondly, who is the individual identifying these transfer targets? Once upon a Fergie time, United had a clear structure to the club. Fergie would identify players with his management team; David Gill would go out and buy them at a great price. With Van Gaal’s future continually in the balance and Mourinho’s camp still make loud noises from the side lines that he is ready to come in, who would Renato Sanches be playing for? And more specifically, what team and for whom are United trying to build?
Transfer rumours always need to be taken with a pinch of salt (anyone remember Ronaldinho to Blackburn? Damn those Venky’s knew how to have a giggle), but questions surely remain over the competency in the transfer market of the post-Fergie/Gill Manchester United. Renato Sanches seems to have all the qualities and attributes to become a bit of worldie, it’s just shame that if a transfer did materialise, he would have to develop with the concreate weight attached to his feet of being of the most expensive teenagers of all time.
Rich, The Sweeper Football Blog
*Writer’s note – The two sources listed below were a great help in trying to understand a little more about Renato Sanches.