For the last few weeks, Manchester United had been heavily linked with Portuguese teenage sensation Renato Sanches.
So, when Bayern Munich announced today that they have captured the services of the 18-year-old, some United fans were understandably angry.
It appeared they were set to sign the midfielder but after the German club confirmed the deal, it seemed the Red Devils had missed out on, yet another, transfer target.
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But fear not, United fans. The Mirror are reporting that United are insisting that they pulled out of any deal to sign the wonderkid.
The report states that a Manchester United source says they have decided to look at “alternative targets” this summer, rather than moving for Sanches.
With United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward reluctant to splash out on Sanches, Munich stole in and captured his services in a £28 million deal that could end up rising to £63 million.
Interestingly, Sanches shares the same agent, Jorge Mendes, as Jose Mourinho - who has been heavily linked with replacing Van Gaal as manager. Previously, it had been reported that it was Mourinho who was keen to sign the starlet if he took over at United.
So, does the fact that United decided against signing Sanches suggest that Mourinho will no longer be joining the club?
Sanches is considered to be Portugal’s brightest talent since Cristiano Ronaldo and has signed a five-year deal at the Allianz Arena.
It’s remarkable that a player that hadn’t played a senior match for Benfica’s first-team before this season would warrant such a massive sum but Saches has had a remarkable debut campaign at the Estadio da Luz.
He had played the previous two seasons for Benfica B in the LigaPro before being promoted to the first-team last summer. And Sanches has helped his side reach the Champions League quarter-finals while they are on the brink of winning the Primeira Liga.
While United supporters may have been initially disappointed at missing out on a potential target, they will be pleased to discover that it was the club’s decision to rule out a deal.
But United can be confident of attracting talent of Sanches’ ability if they can qualify for next season’s Champions League. United know that if they beat West Ham tonight, they will jump ahead of Manchester City to fourth with just one match remaining.
Van Gaal’s side currently trail by two points with a game in hand but know that two victories against the Hammers and Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Sunday would see them pip their rivals to the fourth Champions League qualification spot.
Playing in Europe’s elite competition will help the club attract world-class talent to the Theatre of Dreams.