Benfica bag €35m possibly rising to €80m
Bayern Munich today announced the signing of Benfica’s 18-year-old midfielder Renato Sanches on a long-term contract until the summer of 2021.
The German giants paid €35 million euros up front from the teenager, with a potential further €45 million due depending on sporting objectives achieved by the player.
It caps a remarkable season for Sanches, who only made his Benfica debut in October this season.
The transfer took everyone by surprise. It was not so much the fact that the young midfielder was sold before completing a full season in Portugal and before securing a berth in the national team squad - he is still far from certain of making the 23-man party to go to Euro 2016 with the Seleção.
But all the pointers suggested his destination would be Premier League club Manchester United, with the English giants having scouted him regularly throughout the season and heavily reported to have a deal in place.
But they were not the only ones. “FC Bayern has been watching Renato Sanches for a long period,” said Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. “We’re pleased we’ve been able to sign him despite big-name international competition.”
It remains to be seen whether Sanches can force his way into Bayern’s star-studded team. The size of the transfer fee suggests the four-time German champions have no doubts he has the quality to represent a team that has been widely viewed as one of the top three club sides in Europe over recent seasons.
“Renato is dynamic, a good tackler and a technically skilled midfielder who’ll add even more strength to our team,” added Rummenigge.
One season playing for Benfica may be enough to earn Renato a Primeira Liga title. The Lisbon club play Nacional on Sunday afternoon needing to match Sporting’s result at Braga to be crowned champions of Portugal. Sanches, though, will not play having been sent off against Marítimo on Sunday.
His final game for Benfica will therefore be the Taça da Liga final, also against Marítimo, on 20 May.
by Tom Kundert