For months, it seemed as though Renato Sanches would sign for Manchester United.
The Portuguese sensation had been linked with a move to Old Trafford for a while before surprising everyone by deciding to leave Benfica to sign for Bayern Munich.
The 18-year-old is considered the brightest talent to emerge from Portugal since Cristiano Ronaldo but opted not to follow in his footsteps by swapping the Primeira Liga for United.
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Sanches had a €80 million release clause at Benfica and, considering he shared the same agent as compatriot and soon-to-be United boss Jose Mourinho, it was reported that he will be arriving at the Theatre of Dreams very soon.
But he opted for Germany and Bayern - the side that knocked his team out of the Champions League in the quarter-finals this season.
"Manchester United made an offer. I think it was well known. But I had other offers as well,“ Sanches said, per Goal.com.
So, why did he choose Munich over United?
"I chose Bayern Munich because it’s a great club. They have a 65,000 seater stadium and an atmosphere similar to Benfica. I’ll win titles."
Sanches’ comments about Munich having a 65,000 seater stadium is slightly confusing considering Old Trafford holds more than 75,500.
Lack of titles
But you can’t argue with the fact that he wants to win titles.
Since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club, United have finished seventh, fourth and fifth - finishing 22, 17 and 15 points behind the champions respectively.
Compare that to Bayern, who have won the league in each of those three seasons by 19 points and then 10 points in the previous two campaigns.
Need to get back to the top
When you consider the fact that Manchester United won’t be playing Champions League football next season, it understandable why Sanches turned down their offer in favour of Bayern.
Sanches’ comments are just a reminder to United how important it is to get back to challenging for titles and competing in the Champions League. Although they are still one of the biggest clubs in the world, players will be reluctant to move there without the promise of winning trophies every season and competing in Europe’s elite competition.
Mourinho will be well aware of that importance and, if he’s appointed, will be keen to make United attractive again.
It’s quite remarkable that Sanches’ transfer could end up costing Bayern Munich €80, though. Before this season, he had only represented Benfica B in the second division and only made his first appearance for the senior side on November 25.
Since then, though, he hasn’t looked back. He’s played 34 matches in all competitions, helping his side win the Primeira Liga by two points ahead of Sporting.