Manchester United ‘hesitated’ On Signing Renato Sanches


Manchester United missed out on signing Renato Sanches from Benfica after showing hesitancy over the potential transfer, sources close to the deal have told Sky Sports News HQ.

It is understood Benfica were keen to sell Sanches before Portugal announced their Euro 2016 squad, in case the 18 year-old was not included, fearing his potential omission would have an adverse effect on his transfer value.

Sky sources have revealed Sanches would have agreed to join Manchester United if they had come to an agreement with Benfica. Sanches is regarded as the brightest prospect to emerge in Portugal since Cristiano Ronaldo, and he was keen to follow in his compatriot’s footsteps by moving to Old Trafford.

The player’s agent, Jorge Mendes, was aware of United’s interest, and was ready to do a deal with Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward. However, with pressure increasing from Benfica to sell the player before the Portuguese squad announcement, Sky Sports News HQ has been told Mendes was not able to stall other interested clubs long enough while United deliberated over whether or not to make a bid.

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich took advantage of United’s apparent indecision by agreeing a deal to sign the midfielder for an initial fee of £27.5m (35m euros) earlier this week. The fee could reach in excess of £35m (45m euros) depending on bonuses, including Sanches being named World Player of the Year during his time at Bayern.

Manchester United sources reiterated to Sky Sports News HQ that whilst they scouted Sanches extensively, manager Louis Van Gaal did not approve the signing, and the club therefore opted to pursue other targets instead.

It remains unclear why Van Gaal vetoed the signing of Sanches, if that was indeed the case. Whilst the transfer fee was relatively high for a player who is still only considered an emerging talent, United demonstrated a willingness to recruit a player in similar circumstances last summer when signing Anthony Martial from Monaco. He was bought for an initial £36m, making him the most expensive teenager in football history.

Barcelona were also known to be admirers of Sanches, who only signed a new contract with Benfica in November, which included a release clause of £35m (45m euros).

Speaking about the Sanches transfer, Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: “We’re pleased we’ve been able to sign him despite big-name international competition. Renato Sanches is a dynamic, technically-gifted midfielder who is strong in the tackle and will strengthen our squad.”

Bayern deputy chairman Jan-Christian Dreesen added: “The transfer fee for the current international, who was voted the Shooting Star of Portuguese Football in his home country yesterday evening (Monday), is 35m euros, plus possible bonus payments that could become due if for example the player is named in the World Team of the Year or FIFA World Player of the Year.”