Why AC Milan and not Man Utd are the perfect club for Renato Sanches
The midfielder has been linked to both Old Trafford and San Siro, but should choose a Serie A transfer in order to rediscover himself
The summer transfer window is always a time for speculation, with numerous articles written projecting how teams will look next season. How will X team line up with Y player? How will Manchester City utilise all their new full-backs? Where would Renato Sanches fit in at Manchester United? Simple answer – he wouldn’t.
The 19-year-old has reiterated his desire to leave Bayern Munich, despite joining the Bundesliga giants just one year ago. He started just six league games for Carlo Ancelotti’s side last season after making a €35 million move from Benfica, but is set to leave already.
“Personally, I am not satisfied with my first year in Munich,” Sanches told Bild. “Of course, I’d like to play more. That’s why I would like to go to a club that can give me more playing time.”
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Sanches and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho share the same agent, Jorge Mendes, and the Portugal international was linked with a move to Old Trafford before he agreed to join Bayern. After his disappointing season in Munich, that speculation has returned, but the 2016 Golden Boy rightly has his heart set on a move to Serie A rather than the Premier League.
“AC Milan is an interesting option. If the opportunity arises and the clubs can agree, I would like to see them,” Sanches continued.
“I am now on the China tour with FC Bayern, but after that we will get together in Munich and hopefully find a solution.
“I’m young and I have to play a lot. I think the chance to do so is greater in Milan than in Munich.”
Sanches’s current disappointment comes from a lack of first team opportunities, having played just 25 times domestically and in Europe last season following his breakthrough campaign at Benfica. At Manchester United, his chances would also be limited, with Mourinho having a large number of choices in midfield.
Mourinho has spoken of his desire to add another central midfielder to his squad as United return to the Champions League, but his language is telling when he speaks of his summer targets.
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“One midfield player would give me more options,” Mourinho told the BBC. “The other is an attacking player through the wings to give me more attacking options.”
At United, Sanches would just be another option. The first team football he so desires would be far from guaranteed. Last season, Mourinho spent almost £30m on Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who started just 14 Premier League games, while Juan Mata, Michael Carrick and even Mourinho-favourite Marouane Fellaini all started less than 20 games in the league.
Milan will offer the teenage midfielder more opportunities. Vincenzo Montella has been given a lot of money to spend by the club’s new Chinese owners, adding Leonardo Bonucci, Ricardo Rodriguez and Andre Silva among over €215m of new signings during the transfer window. Signing Sanches could see them surpass the €250m mark as they look to usurp Juventus in Italy.
They have already brought in midfielders Franck Kessie from Atalanta and Lucas Biglia from Lazio, while the other realistic first team options in the centre of the park will be Giacomo Bonaventura and the veteran Riccardo Montolivo.
So, if Sanches arrives, it will likely be five midfielders playing for three places in central midfield, although Bonaventura’s flexibility means he may often be deployed further forward on the left wing, thus opening up more space.
With Milan fighting on two fronts due to their presence in the Europa League – a competition that will be taken less seriously by Milan than the Champions League will be by Man Utd – the Euro 2016 Young Player of the Tournament will thus receive plenty of opportunities to develop as a player at San Siro.
In Montella, he would also be playing under one of the best young coaches in Europe, someone who champions attractive, technical football and trusts youth – something that hasn’t often been said about Mourinho.
Sanches undoubtedly has the talent to prosper, and Milan offers him the best opportunity to once again show what made him the most coveted teenager in world football. Montella is trying to build something great at the San Siro, and the Portugal international can help him achieve his goals. It is the best fit for all involved.
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