Football

Sanches could be heading to Old Trafford.

Manchester United are close to signing Renato Sanches

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While Manchester United’s next manager is still unconfirmed, it hasn’t held them back from targeting potential signings for this summer.

In fact, it appears the club are doing more than just 'targeting' potential signings because the Manchester Evening News are reporting that United are “close” to signing one of their targets.

Benfica’s Renato Sanches has been linked with a move to Old Trafford on numerous occasions in the previous few months and it’s now being reported that a deal has almost been struck.

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The 18-year-old is one of the hottest prospects in European football and the report states that Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has been worked hard to get a deal done with the Portuguese club.

The midfielder signed a new contract last November at the Estadio da Luz but it included a release clause of £35 million and it’s believed that United are willing to splash that amount of money to capture Sanches.

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Mourinho's influence

Something that makes the transfer even more likely is the fact that Jorge Mendes is Sanches’ agent. Mendes is also the agent of Jose Mourinho - the manager that is likely to take over from Louis van Gaal at the end of the season.

The report suggests that Mourinho is a big fan of Sanches. It states that the former Chelsea boss was keen to sign his compatriot during his second spell at Stamford Bridge but failed in his attempts.

Chelsea FC v FC Porto - UEFA Champions League

However, Sanches may be put off by the fact that Manchester United may not be playing Champions League football next season. Van Gaal’s side are five points adrift of Arsenal and Manchester City - although they have a game in hand of both - as they look to achieve a top-four finish.

Potential suitors

If the Red Devils don’t achieve qualification into Europe’s elite competition, the club are likely to face stiff competition for Sanches’ signature.

Real Madrid are reportedly interested while Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone praised the player earlier this year.

"He has a strong shot and good vision for someone in his position,” the Argentine coach was quoted as saying by FourFourTwo. “It's always nice to see good young players."

FBL-EUR-C1-BENFICA-BAYERN-MUNICH

Sanches has helped Benfica to the brink of the Portuguese title with his side two points clear of Sporting Lisbon with just three matches remaining.

Sanches may be keen to leave Portugal after the disgusting acts seen this weekend. The wonderkid was racially abused during his side’s 1-0 victory over Rio Ave on Sunday with monkey chants reportedly being heard. However, the Portugal international deserves credit for his lack of reaction to the horrible abuse.

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